Ian Bell intends to deliver big runs in the Australian Big Bash this winter to repay the faith shown in him by Perth Scorchers – and at the same time remind England’s selectors that his batting powers still burn bright.

Birmingham Bears captain Bell was the fifth-highest scorer in the 2016 NatWest T20 Blast in England with 489 runs at 40.75 (strike-rate: 130.74).

That form helped convince former Ashes foe Justin Langer, now Scorchers coach, to sign Bell for this winter’s Bash campaign starting on December 23.

With 118 Tests and 161 ODIS behind him, 34-year-old Bell has seen and done it all in his career – almost. At least two new experiences await him in Perth: playing in the Big Bash – and walking out to bat with some Aussies wishing him well.

“I’ve had some really nice messages from Scorchers fans saying ‘we’re right behind you – until the next Ashes series!” Bell said. “Everybody knows the intensity of the England/Australia rivalry and I have always loved it. You take some stick and give some out.

“But one thing that unites both sides is that passion for cricket and I’m really looking forward to playing in some of the incredible atmospheres in the Big Bash.

“I’m very grateful to the Scorchers for giving me this chance and I want to repay them with big runs. I was pretty happy with my T20 form at the top of the order for Birmingham Bears last season so I just want to kick on from there.

“It’s a great opportunity for me on several levels. If you are not playing international cricket, as I’m not at the moment, you want to be playing at the highest level and in the best environments you can. The Big Bash is right up there and if I go out there and perform well it can only remind England’s selectors that I am still around and hungry.

“I still desperately want to play for England again. I know the Big Bash and Test match cricket are completely different arenas but if I score runs for the Scorchers, at the very least it can’t do me any harm.

“It was a really nice surprise when Justin Langer called me out of the blue to ask if I’d be interested. I didn’t need much persuading.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to repay his faith in me and I think my time with the Scorchers could also really benefit us back home because, being in that environment among so many top performers, I will come back with loads of ideas to think about putting into practice with the Birmingham Bears next season.”

Season Pass 2017

You can see Ian Bell and Birmingham Bears in action in all seven group matches at Edgbaston in the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast with a T20 Season Pass.

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