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BIRMINGHAM, England - England batsman Ian Bell dismissed the latest verbal attack from Australia great Shane Warne - the man who branded him 'the Shermanator'.
The unflattering nickname, which Warne first bestowed on Bell during Australia's 5-0 whitewash of England in 2006-07, refers to Chuck Sherman, a nerdy character in the American Pie series of comedy films.
Bell has been drafted in for the third Ashes Test at his Edgbaston home ground starting tomorrow as a replacement for the injured Kevin Pietersen and Warne had suggested Australia revive the taunt this week.
But with Warne now retired from Test cricket, Bell told reporters at Edgbaston yesterday: "He's a legend. It was great to have an opportunity to play against him. What more can you say about the guy. I think it's not just me. I think he's tried to pick on the whole of the England team. But I don't have to play against Shane Warne this week. He can say what he wants. I have to play against the 11 guys out there. It doesn't really matter to me."
Warne, writing in his Times column, said: "I remember watching American Pie in the team hotel with Michael Clarke on the fourth evening of the Adelaide Test, and when the dorky ginger kid appeared, we both started laughing because it reminded us of Bell.
"The next day, as I walked to my bowling mark, he just seemed to be staring at me, so I just said, 'What are you looking at, Shermanator?'"
Bell has a poor record against Australia, averaging 25 in 10 Tests, and he admitted: "I know my record against Australia is probably the weakest out of all the countries I've played, and that's up to me now to turn around. It's a new-look Australia side. And it's now up to me to go out and perform in this Test match." - AFP