Bell: “You have to pinch yourself when a final goes that much to plan”

Ian Bell could be forgiven for starting to think winning cup finals is easy.

Four months ago, Bell led Warwickshire in the Royal London Cup showpiece at Lord’s and Surrey were beaten by eight wickets in one of the most emphatic final wins of recent times.

Last Saturday, he lined up for Perth Scorchers against Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash final – and the win was even more emphatic: Nine wickets. Bell was there at the end, unbeaten on 31 from 25 balls, as the Scorchers eased to victory inside a tumultuous WACA.

The triumph concluded a first Bash stint for the Birmingham Bears captain which could hardly have gone better, personally or for the team. Six weeks ago he touched down in Australia amid high hopes and, as an overseas signing, high expectations – so it worked out rather well that he returns to England today on the back of two days of celebrations.

“It has been quite a 48 hours!” he said. “Overall, my time with the Scorchers has been perfect, really. A fantastic experience.

“The final was incredible. Just like with Warwickshire last September, you have to pinch yourself when a final goes that much to plan because you expect them to be really tight.

“I’ve been really proud to have been part of the Scorchers squad. We put in a solid campaign all the way through, with not too many standout individual performances but playing really well as a unit with a great spirit and culture, very similar to the Bears.

“There are a lot of local lads in the squad and everyone really buys into the philosophy of Justin Langer.

“I was pretty happy with my form. In different games I opened the batting and went in at three, four and five and contributed in every game except one and if you’d offered me that at the start I’d have been delighted. To score the winning runs in the semi-final and be there at the end of the final was pretty special.

“The supporters have been really good to me and the whole experience was brilliant. As everybody knows, I want to get back into the England team again and play more Test cricket but, if that doesn’t happen, I’d love to come back to the Scorchers again and again.”

Bell’s stay in Perth ended on a happy note with victory in the final at the WACA on Saturday afternoon, having in the morning had a coffee with one of his great mentors, John Inverarity, who, as head coach, led the Bears to the County Championship title in 2004.

“It was great to catch up with Invers who has helped me so much over the years ,” he said. “He remembers his time at Edgbaston very fondly and still keeps closely in touch with how we are doing. I think the Bears are like that – they get in your blood!

“Catching up with John was another ingredient of what’s been a fantastic time for me, but now I can’t wait to get back to Edgbaston and working towards the new season. I’ve had a few chats with Ash and Jim on the phone and it will be great to see the guys and step up planning for a season where we want to be challenging hard for trophies again.”

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