Vaughan v Bell: Three Is The Magic Number

As we approach a crucial summer of international cricket for England, one of the roles in the team still up for grabs is the No.3 batting slot. Nobody has been able to nail down the position and this means that a number of players are keen to impress.

Owais Shah is technically the man in possession of the position having played there for the majority of the West Indies tour. However, he failed to make a big score and looked particularly scratchy when he came in at first wicket down.

At the start of the County season, the spotlight seems to have been on two men in terms of the No.3 batting position. Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell are both desperate to get themselves back in England’s plans and could be battling it out to for fill the role in the first Test of the summer.

Personally, this probably sums up England’s problems. Vaughan hasn’t been in form for what seems like an eternity and Bell wasn’t dropped from the side long ago at all. It seems like a bit of a worry that no one was able to make the position their own in the months that Vaughan has been out of the side.

You just know that had a similar situation occurred with Australia, they would have had someone who came in and perform admirably. If a 34-year-old former captain had been out of the side for a number of months, they probably wouldn’t get the chance to get back in.

Nevertheless, Vaughan still has a chance and so does Bell. So which of the two is in the driving seat? Well, Bell has been in better form for his County. In fact, he has managed two centuries already this summer. Vaughan, did make 43 in Yorkshire’s opening game, but he only has one County Championship game to stake his claim for a place.

If Vaughan doesn’t get runs when Yorkshire visit Durham this week, then he can kiss goodbye to any chance of facing the West Indies next month. I get the feeling that Andrew Strauss would really like Vaughan back in his team and in his dressing room, but he can’t be picked unless he scores runs.

As for Bell, everyone knows that he is an extremely classy player and is probably one of the most talented batsman in the England set-up. However, his mentality could still be a problem. If he comes back will he continue to get out after giving himself a start? Is this what England need when Australia come to town?

In the end, it will probably come down to what the selectors consider to be less risky. Do they risk putting Vaughan in even though he hasn’t scored many runs in the last year or do they risk putting Bell back into a position that he has struggled to cope with of late?

Personally, I’d go for Bell. At least against the West Indies. If he fails against them, then bring in Vaughan for Australia. He may even have found some form by then.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

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