Mahela Jayawardene a brilliant appointment for England - Ian Bell

By Joe WilsonBBC News sports correspondent
Bell expects tough test in UAE

Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene can help improve England's record on the subcontinent in his role as consultant coach, says batsman Ian Bell.

Jayawardene will join England's tour to the United Arab Emirates for the Test series against Pakistan next month.

Bell, 33, described the appointment as "brilliant" and said he would "badger" the newly retired batsman for advice.

"The one thing we need to do is get better on the subcontinent, and he's one of the best ever," he said.

Jayawardene, 38, scored 11,814 runs in 149 Tests and 12,650 runs in 448 one-day internationals.

"To have his input leading into the series, and all the preparation, is going to be huge for us," said Bell. "I'm really looking forward to that.

"He was certainly hard to get out in those conditions, so I'll be picking his brain all the way through if I can, probably badgering him a bit too much, but trying to get everything I can out of him to make my game better."

England lost 3-0 to Pakistan in the UAE in 2012, but Bell believes they are better equipped this time - and says either Alex Hales or Moeen Ali could open the batting.

Ian Bell leaves the field after being dismissed by Saeed Ajmal
Ian Bell is one of five survivors from the Test squad that toured the UAE in 2012 - along with Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn

"Experience tells me in the UAE you have to be flexible, you have to go for a different style of cricket," he said.

"We have to look for another alternative when we go to the subcontinent. We potentially might be opening with a spinner, so to have the option of having two or even three spinners is nice.

"If Mo does get an opportunity to open the batting then it gives us another slot for us to get another bowler in, which is interesting. It's a squad with a lot of possibilities."

Bell, who expressed uncertainty about his future with England after the recent Ashes series win, also reiterated he is determined to continue on to the tour of Australia in 2017-18, when he will be 35.

"It was right for me to reflect on a few things," he said.

"You can't go on tours half-hearted, and you can't go on tours not having done the work and prepared to go through some real tough times.

"There's no doubt, having had some time to think about it, that I want to be on that plane to Australia."

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