ENGLAND DROP BELL

Ian Bell has been controversially dropped from the side that will take on Pakistan during the One Day leg of the England team’s tour of the United Arab Emirates.

Bell’s contribution towards the England One Day team has been in decline for a period of time now, and the selectors have decided it is now time to give opportunities to some new players.

Jos Buttler is expected to fill Bell’s space in the order, as he has shown with his stint with the England Lions that he is not fazed by the pitches in the sub-continent, as he scored big runs at an impressive strike rate for them against a Sri Lanka A side.

This is a new setback for Bell, who was in terrible nick during the recent Test series against Pakistan, making very few runs and being made to look fairly silly thanks to Saaed Ajmal.

Bell is widely considered one of the best players of spin within the England team, and coming off the back of a prolific Summer, he was expected to be one of they key components of England’s batting order against Pakistan.

However, he struggled severely, and his miseries were summed up when in his last innings he was dismissed to a rank long hop from Umar Gul, a ball which deserved to be smashed for 4 ended up being spooned straight to point.

Bell will be looking to regain some form again during the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, as otherwise his place in the middle order may be up for debate when the English Summer arrives. It might be time for him to buy cricket equipment and start practicing at home!

A player with Bell’s talent and undoubted talent should be in the England side, but the selectors cannot go on previous form for too long before it becomes an issue.

NOW OR NEVER FOR PONTING

Ricky Ponting is, without doubt, one of the most prolific batsman in the history of test cricket.

At present, he is the third leading scorer in test match cricket behind only Indians Dravid and Tendulkar. His incredibly average of 52.64 is something that would make you think that it would be impossible for the Australian team to drop him.

However, this only tells part of the story. In the history of the game in Australia, almost all ex-captains have left the side immediately after either losing or giving up the captaincy.

Ponting is adamant he still has plenty to offer this side in transition, and claims he is hitting the ball as purely as ever has done. However, the figures are not on his side in the slightest (which means you’d get good odds if you make a cricket bet on him hitting 100.)

In the last 2 years, he has only averaged 34.67, with just the one century made, which was a double century at home ground in Hobart.

There is no doubting Ponting’s class as a stroke maker, but he is at a stage in his career when the selectors have no choice but to get rid if he doesn’t perform consistently. With a 4 test match series against India looming, it really is a case of now or never for Ponting.

Recently, he has shown signs of a return to form, with back to back half centuries against South Africa and New Zealand, and as Ponting has proved time and time again, he is a true Tasmanian fighter. It is these characteristics that mean you can never write off Ricky Ponting.

KALLIS NETS RINGING PRAISE

Jacques Kallis has recently been the recipient of ringing praise from none other than up and coming Australian all rounder Daniel Christian.

Christian described Kallis as ‘the stand out all rounder in the world’, as well as arguing that Kallis has a case to be regarded the best all rounder the game has ever seen. This is an entirely fair point, as Kallis has scored a mountain of runs in both Test matches and One Day Internationals for his native South Africa, as well as taking over 250 wickets in Test matches.

Some regard Kallis as an underrated bowler, with his pace tending to surprise batsman, as well as the bounce he manages to generate as well. Christian does right to try and model his game on Kallis, with Kallis’s ability to affect the outcome of a game being so strong, his ex-coach once said having Kallis on the field of play was like having 12 men on the pitch.

At the tender age of 36, Kallis’s future in the game is unlikely to last more than a few more years at the most, but the fact that his body has been able to survive the rigours of both batting and seam bowling in the modern game is something of a phenomenon, with similar all-rounders such as Andrew Flintoff and Shane Watson both regularly carrying injuries, with Flintoff having to retire at the ridiculous age of 31, and Watson is likely facing a future career where he will not bowl.

Kallis will also retire as a man who will be consigned to history as a legend of the game, with the only prize excluding him being the World Cup in both 50 over and T20 cricket, both of which are sure to be a major aim for him as he finishes his career.