Bell not resting on his laurels
Ian Bell is not ready to claim England's opening role as his own despite his immediate success in the ODI series against West Indies.
Bell was named man of the series following today's rained-off final match at Headingley after proving England need not fret about Kevin Pietersen's retirement from the limited overs formats.
After proving his fit for the 50-over format with a stylish 126 on his recall in the opening game, Bell struck 53 in the second match, when fellow opener Alastair Cook reached three figures, to provide the foundation for convincing back-to-back wins.
The Warwickshire right-hander is therefore a certain starter for the upcoming five-match series against Australia, which starts at Lord's on June 29, but denies his place is safe just yet.
"It's nowhere near job done. For me it was nice to start well and obviously I want to keep playing and batting as much as I can with Cooky at the top of the order and keep trying to get us off to good starts," he said.
"If we can do that more often than not we've got that middle order firepower to get the good scores.
"With good scores on the board we've already seen in this series, with five world-class bowlers, it's going to be hard to whack around the pitch."
Bell's limited overs career has endured a couple of false starts before his latest chance looked like being taken away when he suffered a cut chin after top-edging a ball into his face in training on the eve of the series.
The 30-year-old revealed that blow may have even taken the pressure off after admitting this could have been his last chance to crack the 50-over game.
"Possibly (it was his last chance). I didn't really think about it to be honest with you, the hit on the head took a lot of my thoughts away from what-ifs and things like that," he said.
"I just wanted to watch the ball and luckily I felt in pretty good form from the Test matches. I believed if I could just carry on that type of form then I could score runs in the one-day format.
"That was important to me."
Despite their good form neither Bell or Cook will be involved in Sunday's one-off Twenty20 international at Trent Bridge to sign off the West Indies tour.
With the Australia series looming large Cook indicated he was set to meet them for Essex in Tuesday night's floodlit match at Chelmsford, with Ravi Bopara is also likely to play.
Bell will look to meet up with Warwickshire for their Wednesday night Twenty20 match to maintain his own form ahead of an Australia series Cook denied would provide an early form guide for next year's Ashes series.
England's batsmen will also get a first look at Australia's young pace duo Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, but Cook maintained his side's one-day improvement was the only focus.
"It will be useful in one sense. Everyone will say it's a precursor but whatever happens in this series it's of no relevance to what will happen a year later. That's just the way it is," said Cook, who has seen his side win all six of their 50-over games in 2012.
"It will be great to see some new guys on their team, but it counts for little if you are comparing it to an Ashes. It is a big series for us as a one-day team.
"If you went back to the beginning of this series when everyone said we'd be tested against the firepower of the West Indies, I think actually they were favourites, we have done well.
"To win as well as we have proves we've made some good strides."
Today's match at Headingley was called off without a ball being bowled after a brief inspection by the umpires at 1.00pm after persistent rain in Leeds left the playing surface sodden.
Following the early call England decided to release Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel, Jonny Bairstow and James Tredwell for Twenty20 action with their respective counties this evening.