IAN Bell has admitted last summer was the best of his international career after being named the England Men’s Cricketer of The Year.
It was the performances of the 32-year-old who began his career playing for Coventry and North Warwickshire CC in the 3-0 Ashes success that nudged him ahead of Stuart Broad and Joe Root for the prestigious honour.
Bell was the unanimous choice for man of the series after he hit three centuries and two 50s in his typically elegant style.
And he said the award from the ECB was recognition of his maturity as a world-class batsman.
“Over the years I’ve seen some really good England players win this award and some friends as well so it is nice to finally get up there and win one myself. It means a lot,” the former former Princethorpe College pupil told ecb.co.uk.
By his own admission, Bell said he did not play enough game-changing innings in the early part of his career.
But that has changed dramatically in recent times, highlighted by his century at Lord’s against the Australians when England had been cast into early trouble.
“When you win Test matches and Ashes series they are amazing moments, but personally last summer would definitely be the best time I’ve played for England.
“The last few years in terms of performing under pressure has been a lot better.
“At the start of my career maybe I scored some runs when it was probably the easiest time to score them.
“But in the last four or five years I’ve managed to score them when the team needs them most and last summer was probably a good example of that and where I’ve come as a cricketer.”