England axe Bell, call up Compton for South Africa Test series
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 19, 2015
The luxury of England being in a position where they cannot lose their One Day International series against Pakistan has resulted in an interesting squad announcement for the winter Test tour of South Africa.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 19, 2015
For whom the Bell tolls
Long-serving batsman Ian Bell will not be going to the Southern Hemisphere with Coral’s 11/4 series chances England, but the ECB also stressed he hasn’t retired from Test cricket.
England selector James Whitaker said: “Ian Bell has been an outstanding player for many years and undoubtedly still has plenty to offer England in the future.
“It was clearly a difficult decision but he has struggled for runs in recent series, and we felt that it was the right time for him to take a break and spend time working on his game out of the spotlight.”
Bell himself took to Twitter, adding: “I’m absolutely gutted not to be selected for the tour to SA. I certainly feel I could have contributed out there and have been working tirelessly to get into the best possible condition.
Middlesex right-hander Nick Compton, who was born in Durban, comes back from international exile with a recall. The 32-year-old was last in an England Test squad in 2013 before being dropped for that year’s Ashes.
Gary Ballance also returns after being axed for the summer and autumn, while there is a first-time call-up for left-arm quick bowler Mark Footitt, yet there is no place for Liam Plunkett, plus injured duo Steve Finn and Mark Wood.
Spinner Adil Rashid misses out, and will instead play in the Big Bash, so Samit Patel is included as backup to Moeen Ali, who keeps his place despite the failed experiment of him opening the batting.
Alex Hales, who has averaged just shy of 50 runs per ODI played in the four-match series in the United Arab Emirates so far, will be England’s next batsman to take to the crease first.
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