As England has become the first team in the ongoing edition of 2017 ICC Champions Trophy to qualify for the semi-finals after crushing New Zealand by 87 runs at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, the former Three Lions top-order batsman Ian Bell revealed his national team has not played to their best of the potential yet and has expected complacent line-up to fire in the upcoming matches.
“It wasn’t flashy, we didn’t see a lot of the explosive hitting which has made this team so popular over the last couple of years, but what we did see was a real collective effort to contribute,” Bell wrote for International Cricket Council’s (ICC) digital platform.
The 35-year-old right-handed batsman believes England have saved their best for the last while stating the side has availed the services of quality players to showcase their talent in the eight-team tournament, as the hosts have already been termed favourites for the mega event.
“The exciting thing about this England team is that it hasn’t played its best game yet. That’s still to come. And the best teams save their best games for when they really matter,” Bell maintained.
Bell, who’s England’s Brand Ambassador for ICC Champions Trophy in his exclusive column for (ICC), wrote bowlers did well so far for England, in the competition as the surfaces have had favoured the batsmen.
Praising the all round effort of bowlers, when New Zealand side was chasing down the target of 223, the former Test batsman Bell effusively heaped praise on promising fast bowler Liam Plunkett, who claimed four wickets to unsettle the Kiwis in all important clash which further saw all five bowlers were among wickets on Tuesday.
“Another four-wicket haul to his [Liam Plunkett’s] name will give him massive confidence and so it should. He’s playing fantastically. On a personal note, I’m over the moon for him,” Bell further mentioned.
The 32-year-old Yorkshire-born Plunkett has shown his capability with the ball after making the return into the side while working hard when he was away from the international circuit before becoming the part all-important part of runners-up squad.
“He’s been around the set-up for so long and I’m thrilled to see him producing the goods. Liam is a wicket-taker, pure and simple,” Bell stated.
Moreover, the successful leg-spinner for England Adil Rashid, who came at the expense of injured Chris Woakes claimed two wickets which further saw Bell stating the slow bowler has been doing a great job for the national team while being a go-to bowler.
“Jake Ball gave England the best possible start with that early power play wicket, doing his job perfectly, but my pick of the bowlers was Liam Plunkett again,” Bell revealed in his write-up.
Moreover, even after struggling to be among runs, Bell has thrown complete support behind hard-hitting opening batsman Jason Roy was stating he has to be given enough time to settle and be among runs while terming him ‘big match’ player, who’s capable of battering any bowling line-up on his day.
“He [Jason Roy] deserves to be given time to get his game back to where we all know it can be,” Bell wrote on Roy.
In the Group A game, England is scheduled to play their last group fixture on June 10 against Australia which has gained two points in both the washed-out games against Bangladesh and arch-rivals New Zealand, respectively.