Ian Bell has reportedly been sounded out by England coach Trevor Bayliss about a possible return to the international fold this winter. The 34-year-old batsman has not played for England since the 2-0 defeat by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in November 2015 – but is seen as a possible solution to the Three Lions' middle-order woes.
During an 11-year career at international level, Bell won 118 caps and scored 22 Test centuries. Bayliss reportedly met Bell last week during Warwickshire's defeat by Surrey at Edgbaston and while the conversation centred on the opposition's two spin bowlers, Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty, the England coach also established whether Bell was still motivated to play international cricket.
Bell was omitted from England's touring squad in South Africa last winter and has not featured at all this summer. However, paltry returns from the likes of Alex Hales, James Vince and Gary Ballance have led to calls for England to recall the experienced right-hander, who has extensive experience of playing on turning wickets in India.
Bell, who is still centrally contracted, has not scored especially heavily since returning to county cricket, managing only one hundred in 16 first-class innings for Warwickshire. He also needs to convince Bayliss and the Test captain, Alastair Cook, that he still has the hunger to play at the top level, according to the Guardian.
Bayliss is reportedly keen to put his faith in a younger crop of players – but the coach also recognises the need to have experience in the side during their potentially daunting tour of India. As such, Bayliss is also open to the idea of recalling Surrey spinner Batty, who is now 38 and has not played a Test match since 2005.