|Full Name||Ian Ronald Bell|
|Born||April 11, 1982 Walsgrave, Coventry, Warwickshire|
|Age||41 Years, 5 Months, 17 Days|
|Batting Style||Right Handed|
|Teams Played||England, England Academy, England A, England XI, MCC, Warwickshire Cricket Board, Warwickshire, England Under-19, Perth Scorchers, Marylebone Cricket Club, Dhaka Platoon, Islamabad United|
A graceful right-handed batsman from Coventry, England, Ian Bell was already a star, long before he even actually made it to the national team, receiving praise from the likes of Dayle Hadlee at the age of 16. Known to be a highly talented batsman, Ian Bell was one of the few English players who equally proficient in both Tests and ODIs.
Bell got his first call-up to the England squad in 2001 after playing just 13 First-Class games. However, he made his Test debut as late as August 2004 against the West Indies. 'Belly' became an instant star scoring 70 on debut and was given an opening to the ODI circuit against Zimbabwe later that year where he impressed once again, scoring 75 and bagging the 'Man of the Match' award for his efforts. His first big slump in international cricket came against arch-rivals Australia, where the likes of Glenn McGrath and co. restricted him to a paltry 171 runs in 10 innings. Bell recovered rapidly from the fall though and turned out to be the highest run-scorer in the subsequent series against Pakistan.
In his initial days, the middle-order batsman received a lot of flak for not converting starts into big scores and was doubted by most cricketing experts who pondered whether he had the temperament and composure required to get to the three-figure mark. One of his characteristics was to get out softly, especially after getting himself set at the crease. A solid 110 against New Zealand and a stunning 199 against South Africa in 2008 silenced critics in an emphatic manner. He was dropped in the winter after a poor first Test against West Indies but soon restored his place in the side and went on to score a match-winning 140 against South Africa in Durban.
Over the years, Ian Bell became one of England's most reliable middle-order batsmen in Tests and when he was sent up to be a regular opener in ODIs, he was seldom disappointing. Ian Bell's stature in the England team went up a notch when he was England's run-piler in the home Ashes series in 2013 during which he became the first man since Chris Broad in 1986 to reach triple figures in three consecutive Ashes Tests. The return Ashes saw the Poms lose the urn to the Aussies through a clean-sweep and Bell failed to blossom with the bat, scoring just two half centuries in the series.
A senior member of the side during this time, a lot of responsibility rested on Ian Bell's shoulders. He carried the burden rather appreciably though. In 2014, Bell played his 100th Test match as England toured Sri Lanka. It did not become a moment to remember though for the Coventry native as England collapsed in the second innings to lose the match and the series. Later that year, India toured England and a lot of criticism came towards Ian Bell and Sir Alistair Cook when India took a 1-0 lead in the Test series, defeating England in the 2nd Test match of the 5-match series. However, Bell silenced the critics in the 3rd Test by scoring a huge ton, his first since the Ashes in 2013. England went on to win the match and eventually won the series 3-1.
At the start of 2015, a tri-series was played between England, India and Australia in Australia. Bell was selected to open the batting but he disappointed in the first match against Australia after being dismissed for a duck. He though bounced back superbly in the next two matches, scoring an unbeaten 88 against India and 141 against hosts Australia. England progressed to the finals of the tri-series but lost against Australia.
After England disappointed in the 2015 ICC World Cup, the ECB decided that they needed to revamp the squad and a fearless approach was needed which meant that senior players like Bell were dropped after that. In the Test series against West Indies and New Zealand, Bell's form started to dip as well. He was selected for the Ashes in 2015 despite his poor form. England won the Ashes but Bell again struggled to score runs. After the Ashes was completed, Ian Bell officially declared his retirement from ODI Cricket and said he will focus on Test Cricket.
However, his Test career would not last much longer either. Despite coming under pressure, Bell kept his place for the tour of UAE as they faced off in a 3-match Test series against Pakistan. Ian started the tour with a half century but struggled to score runs thereafter. England lost the series 2-0 and that series would prove to be Ian Bell's last in an England jersey. In his last Test innings, Bell was dismissed for a duck.
Ian Bell returned to his county side Warwickshire for the 2015/16 season. He was appointed as the captain of the side and led the club to victory in the Royal London One Day trophy. He continued to play domestic cricket around the world too and was also part of the Perth Scorchers team that won the 2016/17 Big Bash League title. Ian Bell enjoyed an illustrious career and will always be remembered for his glamorous cover drives.