Former skippers back ECB’s Bell decision

England

While former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was outraged over Ian Bell being dropped from the Test side, other former captains were more pragmatic, saying Bell's stats over the past two years did not warrant a place.

Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain both backed the ECB's decision to axe Bell, who had averaged under 30 in Tests for the past year and had a dismal Ashes. Instead, England recalled Nick Compton and Gary Ballance for the tour to South Africa.

Vaughan wrote in the Telegraph: "It is very hard to envisage England picking Ian Bell again.

"England won the Ashes last summer and we have a habit when that happens of thinking everything is rosy. Ashes wins should not be allowed to blur the real picture.

"England have lost six Test matches in 2015. That is a lot. We have had an inconsistent year.

"To drop such an experienced player for a tour to South Africa, the best team in the world at the moment, sends a pretty strong message that you think his career is over."

In The Daily Mail, Hussain wrote: "You have to make sure you get a decision like that right because all the quality, effort and service of someone like Bell has to be considered.

"But I think England have got it right to go to South Africa without him."

Vaughan also said that England coach Trevor Bayliss, an Australian and new to the job, had no emotional reason to keep Bell, hence his practical and swift decision.

He added: "Bayliss, the new coach, has taken six months to look at the team and he obviously feels Bell is not half the player he expected him to be.

"Bayliss has also seen the way James Taylor has grabbed his chance, showing real energy and enthusiasm, and the coach has probably wondered if there are more guys like him out there desperate for their chance.

"There comes a time when enough is enough and you have to bring a new batch of players through the system."

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