Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England batsman Ian Bell has announced his retirement from ODI cricket with immediate effect as he wants to prolong his Test career.
Bell, who recently helped England regain the Ashes, was not named in the country’s ODI squad that will face Australia in a five-match series.
“The last 18 months or so since our whitewash in Australia has been as tough a period for English cricket that I can remember,” Bell wrote in his column for the Metro newspaper. “So, to sit here now as a five-time Ashes winner with the urn safely back in our hands is an amazing feeling, and something I struggle to put into words. But it’s taken a hell of a lot out of me, that’s for sure.
“For that reason I’ve decided now is the right time to officially stand down from international one-day cricket and put all my focus and attention on my Test career.
“I’ve a huge amount still to give in the Test arena and still have so many ambitions left to achieve, both from a personal and a team perspective.”
With Bell having no intentions to retire from Test cricket, he has made it clear that he intends to travel to Australia for the next Ashes series and help England retain the coveted urn. Should England accomplish that, Bell will become the country’s first-ever six-time Ashes winner.
“I’ll say it now, I would love nothing more than to go to Australia in two years’ time and right the wrongs of our last Ashes tour there,” he wrote. “I’ve also been asked if I would like to become the first ever English six-time Ashes winner and the answer is yes, absolutely. If I’m playing well and feeling fit, that is without doubt my goal.
“At the end of every Ashes series you’re left both physically and mentally drained and, as I said to Jonathan Agnew as the celebrations began at The Oval, I needed to take a bit of time to consider what the future holds.
“Playing cricket for England means absolutely everything to me but I also know what it takes to be successful at the very highest level. You have to have that hunger and desire and be ready to give 110 per cent every time you get together with the team. That’s something I’ve always prided myself on.
“I spoke with our Trevor Bayliss, Paul Farbrace and Alastair Cook in the aftermath of the Oval Test. We had a really good talk and I was as honest as I could be. Deep down though, I think I probably knew I wasn’t ready to call time on my England Test career. I still have that hunger and desire. The day you don’t, is the day you step away.
“Since then I’ve sat down with the people whose opinions matter most to me, like my wife and my dad, and it became clear pretty quickly that I still have plenty I want to achieve in Test cricket. The words of encouragement I’ve received from so many people and the few days of rest I’ve had have already emphasised to me that I’m in no way ready to finish.
“Stepping completely away from the one-day side of things, however, and allowing the young guys to make their mark on the team, will allow me to focus on my goals within the Test set-up and for me to get back to playing my best red-ball cricket.”
Bell represented England in 161 ODIs and scored 5416 runs, which includes four centuries and 35 half-centuries, at an average of 37.87.