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Bell doubtful for first ODI after nets injury

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Ian Bell was hit on the chin during England practice © Getty Images
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Ian Bell is an injury doubt for England's opening ODI against West Indies after taking a blow to the chin during net practice at Hampshire's West End ground.

Bell, who was in line to open the batting after Kevin Pietersen's retirement from limited-overs internationals, top-edged an attempted pull while facing throw-downs in the indoor nets and with blood pouring from the wound was taken to hospital to receive stitches and undergo a check-up. As the weather improved, England finished their morning session outdoors.

Alastair Cook, England's ODI captain, gave an immediate response to Sky Sports News: "He was playing a pull shot and he top-edged the ball onto his chin," he said. "He has got quite a nasty gash on his chin and a sore jaw, so he has gone to hospital for an x-ray and stitches. We'll know more later."

Cook accepted that Bell was not certain to play. "Looking at him walking off he looked a little bit sore," he said. "We'll announce the team at the toss like we normally do. We'll just have to play that one by ear."

Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, reacted: "I don't think any cricketer wants to see an opposing player get injured, or will take pleasure in that. It is unfortunate for him. But we have to focus on other things."

The news could mean further disruption for England's one-day side, with captain Cook already having to deal with the fall-out from Pietersen's decision to step away from the format.

Andy Flower, the England team director, had already signalled the intention for Bell to open alongside Cook but, if he is ruled out, the likes of Craig Kieswetter or Ravi Bopara will have to be considered. Jonathan Trott is also in the squad but England may be reluctant to pair him with Cook as an opener.

The first encounter of the three-game ODI series gets underway on Saturday, with West Indies set to welcome back Chris Gayle for his first international appearance in more than a year.

The West Indies are in the rare position of being termed favourites by the English media. "I have not heard favourite and West Indies in the same sentence for a long time but it is good that you recognise that," Sammy said. "England in England is always difficult but we believe as a team that we should win the one-day series.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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