Batsman Ian Bell ready to help England move on from their Ashes agony ahead of Sri Lanka series
Last Updated: 10/06/14 8:15am
Ian Bell admits that the team comes first, and not his own personal milestones, as he prepares to bat for England in the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
This week’s first Test at Lord’s will be Bell’s 99th, with a probable century of matches arriving at Headingley on June 20 in the second and final match of the short series.
The 100th is at the back of my mind and I'm really excited about that. But this game at Lord's is really important for us to start the summer off well.
However, the 32-year-old Warwickshire player - England's newly-crowned cricketer of the year - says he is focused on helping the team recover from a difficult time Down Under last winter when they were swept in the Ashes series.
“Graham Gooch once told me the only match that means anything or the only innings that means anything is the one you're in right now," Bell said.
"The 100th is at the back of my mind and I'm really excited about that. But this game at Lord's is really important for us to start the summer off well.
"We've got seven Tests on the bounce and the team will always come before me.
"My milestone at Headingley is not important at all right now. Let's start well at Lord's, and then go from there.
"It is vital we kick things off against Sri Lanka as well as possible.
"There are new faces all around, and nothing would be better than to give everyone a taste of success straight away.
"I hope this is the start of something special for me and the team, helping some of these young guys through.”
As for the Ashes disappointment in the winter, he added: "It is easy to look at the winter and get down but to win three Ashes on the bounce means we must have been doing something right.
"It was going to come to an end at some point but we wish it hadn't been quite so dramatic. To lose 5-0 was devastating and hurt a lot of people.”
Bell has made 870 runs in 12 Tests since May of last year, including hitting three hundreds in the home Ashes series. He also made 19 ODI appearances, managing six half-centuries on his way to reaching second on the all-time leading run scorers in the 50-over game.