Ian Bell aims to take his strong Vitality Blast form with Birmingham Bears last summer into stints in the Bangladesh Premier League and Pakistan Super League after Christmas.
Bell is “very excited” by the prospect of playing for Dhaka Dynamites in the BPL and then for reigning PSL champions Islamabad United.
"I want to make a big contribution in both tournaments, and picking up knowledge that I can bring back to Birmingham Bears."
And he is looking forward to learning from some of the world’s top T20 stars. For while the 36-year-old has 118 Tests and 161 ODIs for England under his belt, he feels he is still playing catch-up a little bit in terms of the shortest format.
“I was pleased with my T20 form for the Bears last summer but feel that I am still learning,” he said. “There was a long period of my career, when I was playing for England, that I played hardly any T20. I have only played about 100 T20s whereas a lot of guys have played 250-plus, so I am still finding things about my game.
“Playing in two great competitions like the BPL and PSL will be fantastic. I can’t wait to get out there and get involved with so many world class players and I will be listening and learning all I can from them.
“I have had a taste of success with the Bears and with Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash and hopefully I can have some more with Dhaka Dynamites and Islamabad United. I want to make a big contribution in both tournaments, all the time learning and picking up knowledge that I can bring back to Birmingham Bears next year.”
Bell is in for a busy start to 2019. The Bangladesh Premier League begins on January 5 with the final on February 8. The Pakistan Super League begins on February 14 in the United Arab Emirates with its last eight matches taking place in Pakistan, including the final in Karachi on March 17.
“I’ve got happy memories of Bangladesh,” Bell said. “I scored a Test century at what will be my home ground with the Dynamites so hopefully that’s a good omen. The BPL is growing in influence every year and I just want to get among those great players in our squad and learn from them. The Dynamites are a very successful team who have never failed to reach the play-offs so there will be plenty of expectation.
“Then it will brilliant to play for Islamabad in the Pakistan Super League. Pakistan are one of the most dangerous teams in the world in white-ball cricket and have some real talent in their ranks so it will be great for me to be amongst that and also all the world-class overseas players involved in the league. I can’t wait to get out there and give everything I have got for the team and its amazing supporters.”