The coach of the England ODI side, Ashley Giles, has made it clear that Ian Bell will be the opening partner of Alastair Cook in the upcoming Champions Trophy.
Bell has been Cook’s opening partner in the ODIs since quite a while now. He was given this role when Kevin Pietersen was out of the team last year and even after Pietersen’s return, he is carrying on that role.
He opened in the ODI series against India last year and he played a couple of very good innings in that series. In the first match of the series, he scored 85, while, in the last match, he played a match winning unbeaten knock of 113.
Pietersen batted at no. 3 in that series and he managed to score just one half century.
Pietersen was rested in the 3-match ODI series against New Zealand. Bell put up impressive performances opening the batting in that series as well. His average in that series was 44 which was quite decent.
When asked who will open with Alastair Cook in the upcoming Champions Trophy, Giles said, “It will be Ian Bell. He has done well batting at that slot in recent times and we want him to continue batting at that position.”
“KP’s record as an opener is also impressive, but, we have now found out a formidable opening pair in the form of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell and there is no point separating that pair.”
Giles had coached Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott at the County level as well. When asked how it feels to see these two players doing well for the country, he said, “It feels great. Both are class acts and both are vital parts of the team now. Hopefully, both of them will play some good innings in the Champions Trophy.”