Bell pines for double delight
Ian Bell has an eye on emulating the heroes of his youth when Warwickshire take on Hampshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final.
Following their final-day heartbreak a year ago, Warwickshire wrapped up the LV= County Championship title with a game to spare last week thanks to a crushing innings defeat of neighbours Worcestershire.
Although England duty left Bell with a bit-part role in the triumph, he is available for duty at Lord’s this weekend and hopes to emulate the Warwickshire side of the mid-nineties.
Under the watchful eye of the late Bob Woolmer and captained by redoubtable all-rounder Dermot Reeve, a side boasting Nick Knight, Roger Twose, Trevor Penney, current director of cricket Ashley Giles and overseas superstars Brian Lara and Allan Donald claimed back-to-back County Championship titles in 1994 and 1995, while also picking up three limited-overs prizes in the same period.
“As a kid growing up watching Warwickshire and seeing them do the double and winning trophies in the nineties, it was something I wanted to be a part of myself,” Bell told ecb.co.uk.
“For us as a group now, to have a chance of doing the double is a great feeling.
“You know how much effort it takes to even win one trophy, let alone be involved in two.”
Despite his team-mates securing county cricket’s ultimate prize, Bell views Hampshire as favourites heading into the Lord’s showpiece following their success at Friends Life t20 finals day last month.
He was also particularly impressed by their CB40 semi-final victory at Sussex.
“To go to Sussex and beat them there at home - I think it’s certainly the hardest place to go and win in one-day cricket,” he said.
“It was a great game they had there. I would have thought going into this game they’d be favourites with the fact they’re a good one-day side and that’s good for us.
“We can just turn up and enjoy the day - the guys have played some great cricket. You just go and relax and try and showcase your skills on the big occasion.”
Another factor to set the Warwickshire dressing room at ease is their success in the 2010 final over Somerset.
Captain on that occasion, Bell lit up the famous old ground with a typically stylish century in seven-wicket triumph.
However, he is quick to acknowledge Giles’ meticulous planning as a decisive factor - something he feels will be key once more.
“I’m sure Ashley Giles will want us to sit down and talk through some plans,” he added.
“In 2010 we really planned hard how we were going to bowl at the likes of (Marcus) Trescothick and how we were going to face the likes of Alfonso Thomas and Murali Kartik. I’m sure we’ll do exactly the same for Hampshire.
“It’s exciting times. If our guys play the kind of cricket they have done this summer, we’re in for a great final.”