Best years are ahead of me - Bell

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Ian Bell told ECBtv he is determined to win his place back in the England team

Ian Bell is confident his best is yet to come and cannot wait to get back out in the middle in the traditional domestic season curtain-raiser at Lord’s.

The Warwickshire batsman is part of the MCC side to take on LV= County Champions Durham in a four-day match ahead of the championship’s resumption next week.

Bell endured a frustrating tour of West Indies, losing his England place after the first Test and having to watch the remainder of the competitive matches.

While the right-hander used that time constructively, working on his batting in the nets and his fitness in the gym, he is desperate to be involved in competitive action again.

“It’s going to be nice to get out, certainly at Lord’s,” Bell, who played in the corresponding fixtures in 2004 for MCC and 2005 for his county, told ECBtv. “It’s always a good fixture to be involved in and play some cricket again, so I’m quite looking forward to it.”

He added: “It’s obviously nice, especially being the first game of the season. It’s a always chance to get out there and score some runs.

“It’s also great preparation for your county season to start. Obviously we start next week at Somerset so it’s another opportunity to get out there.

Mark Boucher & Ian Bell

Warwickshire's Ian Bell hits down the ground en route to a Test best 199 against South Africa at Lord's last year

“And certainly at Lord’s there’s no better place to be at this part of the season with the practice facilities and indoor school, so if it rains you can make the most of your preparation. It’s just a good week to be involved in now.”

Bell and several former England team-mates, notably Michael Vaughan and Sajid Mahmood, are aiming for a strong start to the season to aid their chances of an England recall.

And Bell is certain any extra time in the middle can only benefit his cause ahead of an hugely exciting summer of cricket, featuring the World Twenty20 and the Ashes.

“I’ve been hitting the ball nicely in the nets and it’s a matter really of going out and just getting some middle time now and that’s the great thing about this,” he continued.

“I could have gone back to Warwickshire and netted all week but if you get the chance to score some runs in the middle it’s just a better opportunity and gets you in that much better form as a batter by doing it in the middle and not just in the nets.”

As for his chances of an England return, Bell is happy to let his run-making ability do the talking in the county game.

“I don’t think you can worry about it too much. You’ve just got to have faith in the selectors and if you do as much as you can then that’s how you’re going to get yourself back in,” he said.

“I’ve got no doubt. I’ve had some really good days playing for England. I believe there’s a lot more in my cricketing career.

“At 26 my best years for England are ahead of me, but yeah, I look back and you know I would like to improve on what I’ve done and I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity again to do that.”

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