One of England’s modern-day greats Ian Bell has announced his retirement from professional cricket, thus concluding a glorious chapter in their cricket history. Interestingly the decision came after the Warwickshire legend signed a year's extension with his club for the 2021 season.
One of the only three men to have won Ashes five times, Ian Bell was an integral part of the English side that rose to become the No.1 in the ICC's Test rankings in 2011. 7,727 Test runs at 42.69, including 22 hundreds makes him a Test legend, but his ODI credentials deserve more than a trifling mention. The graceful batsman is England’s third-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket behind Eoin Morgan and Joe Root and is retiring as a cricketer of high pedigree and class.
"It's true when they say you know when the time's right, and unfortunately, my time is now. While my hunger and enthusiasm for the sport that I love remain as strong as ever, my body simply can't keep up with the demands of the game to the standard of which I expect of myself," Bell said, in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.
"It's been an absolute privilege and honour to fulfill my boyhood dream of playing for both England and Warwickshire. As a child, to play just once for either would have been enough for me, but to do so for the past 22 years is more than I could have ever wished for.
"To have spent my entire career and won trophies with my boyhood club is something both myself and my family are enormously proud of. To everyone associated with the club; the staff, players, fans and anyone I've worked with during this time: thank you."
Currently plying his trade for his County club in the Bob Willis Trophy, Bell will be seen playing Warwickshire's last fixture on Sunday, away at Glamorgan, and his final T20 game next week. With that game, the 38-year-old will join Tim Ambrose and Jeetan Patel - two of the stalwarts of the club.
"Ian will retire from the game as a true Bears legend. He's come through our development system and academy, won every trophy possible, and he has broken club batting records,” coach Paul Farbrace said of Bell.
"During his 12-year international career, he was also a fantastic ambassador for Warwickshire CCC who scored runs all over the world and was firmly established as one of the world's best batsmen.
"Knowing when to retire is an incredibly difficult decision for every professional sportsman and woman and Ian deserves a huge amount of credit for making this call whilst he still had another year remaining on his contract.”
In county cricket, the former English batsman was part of nine trophy-winning sides - County Championships in 2004 and 2012, the Division Two title in 2008 and 2018, the B&H Cup in 2002, Division Two of the Pro40 in 2009, the CB40 in 2010, the T20 Blast in 2014 and the Royal London Cup in 2016. With those serious achievements, the right-hander bid adieu to the game. Ian Bell made his last appearance for England in November 2015 against Pakistan at Sharjah.
“Once a Bear, always a Bear,” he signed off.