Former England Captain Michael Vaughan expects Ian Bell to perform is he replaces Kevin Pietersen for the Third Ashes Test at Edgbaston next Thursday.
England coach Andy Flower has already confirmed Bell is next in line for a batting berth after Pietersen’s Achilles surgery ruled him out of the rest of the series.
And Vaughan is confident Bell has the quality to succeed in KP’s stead.
Vaughan said: “He has done well in Test cricket and averages 40. If he just relaxes and plays, he’s got so much talent.
“He should just play his natural way.”
27-year-old Bell has been in prolific first class form, scoring 640 runs at an average of 80 before Warwickshire’s current fixture against Hampshire.
Having been dropped in February earlier this year, after the first defeat against the West Indies, Bell will be keen to restart his international career.
And Vaughan thinks he has all the necessary tools to do so, if he does not over-think his innings.
Vaughan said: “He must not try too hard. He’ll be very motivated, [but] if he goes in so desperate to do well it might not happen. He needs to not try to play the perfect innings.
“It’s on his home ground as well so being called up at Edgbaston with an England team 1-0 up – it can’t get any better than that.”
Bell will hope to help maintain England’s current advantage in the series, and Vaughan thinks England are sufficiently strong even without Pietersen.
“Kevin will be missed but he will not be missed too much because of the way he has been playing as the injury has been affecting him so much,” said Vaughan.
“I believe England can win the Ashes without Pietersen. If they lost Freddie as well that would make it a harder task.”
Bell’s inclusion will pressurise England’s current number three Ravi Bopara.
Bopara initially replaced Bell against the West Indies and has scored three centuries since but has struggled in the Ashes so far, with just 81 runs at an average of 20.
Let’s cross our fingers both Bell and Bopara can hit the ground running at Edgbaston and Freddie will be fighting fit.