London, July 23 (ANI): Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell is almost certain to play in the Npower Third Ashes Test starting on his home ground of Edgbaston next Thursday, and is desperate for a crack at the Aussies.
But he says that he would rather have been picked on merit than benefit from Kevin Pietersen's series-ending Achilles injury.
"I know this might sound strange, but I want Kevin to be playing for England. He is our No 1 batsman and, being the professional I know he is, I am sure he is very upset at being ruled out of the series. But I am just as desperate to play. Having faced the Aussies before, I know what to expect from them," The Sun quoted Bell, as saying.
"Once you've appeared at Test level, you want to carry on playing against the best players in the world," he added.
Bell, 27, is averaging 70 in first-class cricket this season although he was out for seven against Hampshire on Wednesday.
He is likely to bat at No 5 next week with Paul Collingwood moving up one spot to four and Essex's Ravi Bopara remaining at No 3.
Bell reckons he will be back to face the Aussies in prime form - and with an improved mental attitude.
"In a way, being out of the Test side has helped refresh me and allowed me to evaluate a few things. It helps that I have been with Warwickshire since I was 10 so settling back in is always easy. I got some texts from the lads at Lord's after England won and that made me feel still part of the set-up," he said.
"I am in great form so I wouldn't worry about being called up, especially as it would be at Edgbaston. But, even if I wasn't called in to replace KP, I wouldn't feel excluded as every country needs a big squad because of the volume of international cricket," he added. (ANI)