Ian Bell will be available for Warwickshire today, despite being called up as cover to England's one-day squad yesterday.
Warwickshire take on Northamptonshire this evening in the second of their Twenty20 Cup matches in front of another full house. After losing their opening match to Worcestershire at New Road on Wednesday, Warwickshire could ill-afford to be without one of leading players, particularly as Heath Streak, Mark Wagh, Trevor Penney, Ashley Giles and Tony Frost are absent.
Bell's England call-up is puzzling. His one-day form this season is modest; an average of 17 from seven matches is meagre indeed for one so talented.
In the longer term there is no reason to suppose that he will not develop into a fine one-day player. But in the short term the selectors might be better to allow him to develop in county cricket rather than risk jeopardising his worth in the Test team this summer by subjecting him to a confidence-sapping experience in the one- day series.
His is a talent too precious to risk.
John Inverarity, Warwickshire's coach, John Inverarity, told The Post last night: "I thought the selectors were right to leave him out of the original one-day squad. But with the injury they've had [to Michael Vaughan], they were attempting to keep the continuity of selection going. I think it was the right thing to do."
Inverarity, whose oneday international career extended to 30 matches, was frank in his assessment of Warwickshire's performance on Wednesday.
Refuting the suggestion that the team's tactics were at fault - "I'm not sure there are too many subtleties involved in Twenty20" - he said: "Sometimes you're at the mercy of players like Graeme Hick but I thought we bowled and fielded pretty well. Nick Warren and Jim Troughton had good spells and Alex Loudon had good figures until his last three balls. The disappointing thing is that the top-order batsmen are not scoring as many runs as they should.
"The pitches are not as flat as last year, which accounts for a part of the problem.
"But the batsmen aren't doing it at the moment, and that's where we can improve."
The bowlers will have to be at their best again tonight. Northants set a county record total of 224 against Gloucestershire on Wednesday.