Strauss and Bell set for county stint
England skipper Andrew Strauss and batsman Ian Bell will look to find some form in county cricket before the summer's first Test.
Both batsmen struggled for runs over the winter and rarely contributed any meaningful totals in the 3-0 defeat to Pakistan in the UAE or their 1-1 draw with Sri Lanka. It was the slower bowlers who caused them problems and, back on home soil, both will expect to rediscover the touch that has seen them score heavily for England over the past few years. Bell has, at times, looked England's best batsmen, but he goes through periods of indifferent form, before finding his touch once again to cement his place in the middle order. Strauss is under pressure, with Alastair Cook waiting in the wings to take over as captain and back-to-back Ashes series set to take place in 2013. The Middlesex star is the man that coach Andy Flower wants to lead his men against the Baggy Greens but there will come a point when he might have to give way if he cannot justify his place in the side due to a lack of runs. The England and Wales Cricket Board have made both players available for three LV= County Championship fixtures ahead of the first Test against Darren Sammy's men, which begins at Lord's on May 17. While Strauss and Bell will turn out for Middlesex and Warwickshire respectively, Jonathan Trott and Cook have been given time off. James Anderson and Graeme Swann have been told to rest until May 2 while seamers Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan will play two of three Championship games ahead of this summer's internationals.