Ian Bell: Extraordinary’ England will need to win opener trouble-free
It’s finally here. There’s been a lot of talk and the excitement has been steadily building, but the ICC Champions Trophy – and more specifically – England’s assault on the tournament is ready to start.
From the conversations I’ve had, and from what I’ve heard, the boys are in great spirits and can’t wait to get things going.
The preparation seems to have gone really well. From the outside it appears the team’s trip to Spain and then the series win against South Africa has cemented just what a good feeling there is in this camp and hopefully this will transfer into a performance to remember over the next couple of weeks.
Although Monday was a bit of a day to forget, the team should take great confidence from the first two performances against South Africa and they rightly will fancy their chances over the next few weeks. They can win this. The talent in this team is extraordinary.
We’re obviously up against Bangladesh tomorrow and I’ve been asked several times over the last couple of weeks whether it’s an opportunity to bury the ghost of our loss in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, but personally, I don’t think these boys will be giving that one iota of thought.
While some of the guys will indeed have played in that match, make no mistake about it, this is a new team and a new philosophy on the way the team should play.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a transformation on the approach to 50-over cricket and with our big hitters, we’ve seen just how possible it is for the guys to rack up big scores.
That said, the whole squad won’t be underestimating Bangladesh. Far from it, in fact. They’ll know how dangerous Bangladesh can be, but quite rightly, England will first and foremost be thinking of their own capabilities and what they can do.
Ben Stokes has been on fire, as have the likes of Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes. Alongside the Jason Roys, Alex Hales’ and Eoin Morgans of this team, we clearly have fire-power throughout. And this isn’t even mentioning Joe Root! The potential of the guys is staggering.
As I say, Bangladesh is capable of winning this – we’ve seen that time and time again, but if England is going to win this tournament, it’ll need to win this fairly trouble-free. And I suspect England will!