Ian Bell will always remember the summer of 2013.
The 32-year-old has admitted it was the best of his international career after being named the England Men’s Cricketer of The Year yesterday.
The Warwickshire righ-hander was the unanimous choice for man of the series after he hit three centuries and two fifties in his typically elegant style.
“It means a lot (to win the award),” he told ecb.co.uk.
“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.”
Asked if last summer was the best of his England career, Bell added: “I’d have to say so. When you win Test matches and Ashes series they are amazing moments, but personally it would definitely be the best time I’ve played for England.”
Bell believes the award is recognition of his maturity as a world-class batsman in the Test arena.
By his own admission, Bell did not play enough game-changing innings in the early part of his career.
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.
“The last few years in terms of performing under pressure has been a lot better,” he said.
“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.”