Ian Bell has put bat to ball for the first time on behalf of Perth Scorchers ahead of his stint as an overseas player for them in the Big Bash.
And the Birmingham Bears skipper’s appetite for his first spell in the Bash has only been whetted by three practice matches – and his initial taste of life as a player under Scorchers head coach Justin Langer.
Bell started off for the Scorchers against a Legends XI at the Western Australian Festival of Cricket and distinguished himself in the field by snaring an old foe with a brilliant catch to dismiss Adam Gilchrist off David Willey. Then it was back to The Furnace (as the WACA is branded for the Bash) for two inter-squad practice games in which he scored 24 (21 balls) and 27 (18).
“It was great to get out there in the middle and feel bat on ball,” Bell said. “I felt in pretty good nick and got a good start which is encouraging because I want to deliver big runs for the Scorchers. I’m really happy to have this opportunity and want to repay them with runs.
“It didn’t start too well in the festival game when I took that catch – I wasn’t the most popular man in Australia!
“But the welcome has been really warm and it’s been a fantastic experience to work with Justin Langer. I have worked with some great coaches with Warwickshire and England but you can learn something new from every top coach you work with and Justin is right up there.
“It is all so incredibly well-organised and we work very, very hard. I am working really hard physically and it’s great to be part of this squad with its mix of really talented young players and top senior guys.”
Bell will be in action again on Sunday when he is one of four Scorchers players to play for the University of Western Australia in their T20 quarter-final. He will make his competitive debut for the Scorchers on December 23 when they open their Bash campaign against Adelaide Strikers at The Furnace.
And while he is based in Perth, the Bears captain is also hoping to catch up with a familiar face: John Inverarity who arranged his first visit to Australia some 15 years ago and went on to steer Warwickshire to the County Championship title as director of cricket in 2004.
“It’s lovely to be back where it all started for me overseas,” Bell said. “I would love to catch up with Invers at some point if I can because I owe him such a lot.”
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