Ian Bell’s first venture into the Big Bash in Australia received the perfect ending on Saturday as Perth Scorchers lifted the trophy after hammering Sydney Sixers by nine wickets in the final at the WACA.
Birmingham Bears skipper Bell was there at the end as his polished 31 (25 balls) steered the Scorchers over the line in an unbroken alliance of 75 in 45 balls with veteran Michael Klinger (71, 49 balls).
So Bell collected a Big Bash winner’s medal just weeks after fellow Birmingham Bears star Jeetan Patel did the equivalent with Wellington Firebirds when they won the McDonalds Super Smash in New Zealand.
The captain will return to Edgbaston this week with mission down under well and truly accomplished – and some valuable experience and ideas banked to bring to the Bears’ campaign in the NatWest T20 Blast this summer.
And the success of Bell and Patel at the top level already this year can only augur well for Birmingham this summer, reckons head coach Jim Troughton.
“Jeets has won the T20 in New Zealand and Belly in Australia so we’re hoping that’s a sign,” Troughton said.
"Both were integral to the success of their team so it just shows the calibre of player we are talking about and how lucky we are to have them."
“I know how much the Scorchers have valued having Belly’s experience and quality around and he has benefited too. He has taken in a lot of things from working with Justin Langer, like how they set up in practice and try to emulate specific phases of play, and that’s something we will think about and might try to put into practice when we go out to Abu Dhabi.”
Bell’s five-week stint in the Big Bash also gave him a perfect opportunity to size up potential recruitment options for the Bears for the 2017 Blast.
“We still have an opportunity to sign a second overseas player,” Troughton said. “We are in lots of discussions with Ash and Belly, but we won’t panic and make a signing just for the sake of signing somebody.
“We want any signing to have a good character and bring the skill-set we need, now that we have lost Laurie Evans in that middle order and we know we won’t see much of Woakesy.
“We know last season we lacked firepower in the middle-to-late order. At the top I was quite happy with how we started and how we got to overs ten and 11, but we didn’t quite fire from overs 13 to 20.”
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