World Cup 2019: England are desperate to win the World Cup, says Ian Bell
Ian Bell, the former middle-order batsman, says under-pressure hosts have the talent and ability to lift the trophy
Birmingham: Ian Bell will be always grateful to MS Dhoni for his ton in the 2011 Test at Nottingham. Bell left the crease to head for the tea break despite the ball still in play. He was promptly run out by the Indians, but captain Dhoni withdrew the appeal and Bell went on to score 159.
The former England batsman retired from ODI cricket after being dropped from the team following a disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign and plays for the Warwickshire county side but is currently sidelined due to a toe injury.
England are in fourth spot in the points table with 10 points from eight matches (five wins and three defeats). They have to beat New Zealand in their last outing to qualify for the semi-final, and Bell believes Eoin Morgan & Co will not just do that but will also go on to win the World Cup.
mid-day caught up with Bell at his home ground Edgbaston to speak about England's topsy-turvy World Cup form. Excerpts:
Do you believe England can make the semis?
It has been a great World Cup though, adjusting to the conditions has been a bit of a struggle so far. Any team can beat any team. England were under a lot of pressure going into this game [v India]. They got the platform right in the first 20 overs and there is no doubt that they have the ability and potential to do really, really well. So hopefully, we can get into the semi-finals.
Do you reckon England need to alter their approach if conditions don't favour their attacking style?
Yes. That it is potentially the crisis [playing on flat tracks] with the England side where they get labelled [flat track bullies]. But they have a lot of power and ability. They always look to play positive cricket. An interesting thing when you listen to Virat [Kohli] or Ricky [Ponting], who have won World Cups, is that winning the tournament is not only about playing your 'A' game. It's also about finding a way to win games when you are not playing your 'A' game. We saw Pakistan against Afghanistan, they found a way to win that game. Obviously, these last few games England can do that. There are some brilliant players and this is probably the best World Cup team we have ever had in terms of ability. There are some quality players. Hopefully, a little bit of luck and we can get through to the semi-finals, and from there, it is anybody's game. I think if England reach the semis, having gone through a slight dip, it might be the right time for them.
India's Suresh Raina has a chat with England’s Ian Bell as the latter is welcomed back on the field after being controversially run-out during the second Test at Trent Bridge in 2011. Pic/ Getty Images
Do you feel this England side is peaking at the right time?
In tournaments like these, you don't want to play your best cricket at the start. You want to save that for the semi-final and final. For any team that has to win the World Cup, they have to beat the great Indian side. I went to three World Cups, but we weren't good at any of them. This team has amazing talent, but it's about being adaptable. I am sure, if we reach the semi-finals, their best game will be ahead of them.
Can England handle the pressure of playing at home?
Absolutely. The ability is there. They are a fantastic team. They are learning all the time. It is still a young side and quite exciting. Jofra Archer has added another dimension to our team, which is great. There is no doubt that they have the ability to win the World Cup. It is just about managing the expectations.
This is touted as England's best chance of winning their maiden World Cup. If they don't do that, will it be a huge opportunity lost?
I don't think it's an opportunity lost. Obviously, they have a fantastic opportunity with the kind of team they have, but they are not the only great team in this tournament. You look at Australia and India. Yes, the World Cup is the only trophy missing for us, but you have to play the best cricket you can. In this country, we are desperate to win the World Cup. There is no doubt about it. There is a bit more pressure due to that. When I started my career, it was with an aim of winning back The Ashes. We won five out of the last seven Ashes series. But the one thing that we are already missing is the 50-over World Cup. Right now I believe, we can still win the World Cup. So, hopefully, this is that year.
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