Bell pleased Cook signed off in style

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

IAN Bell be­lieves Alas­tair Cook has de­liv­ered an “out­stand­ing ca­reer from an out­stand­ing bloke” – and Bell is not in the least sur­prised that his long­time Eng­land team-mate signed off with a cen­tury against In­dia.

War­wick­shire bats­man Bell played the vast ma­jor­ity of his 118 Test matches along­side Cook - and re­flects on that as a “priv­i­lege” as the Es­sex opener’s Eng­land ca­reer comes to a close.

“To score a hun­dred in his last Test in­nings just sums up what he is as a crick­eter and a per­son and what he has given to the coun­try and the team,” Bell said.

“We go back a long way to­gether, back to play­ing in the Eng­land A team, and it’s been a priv­i­lege to play a large part of my ca­reer along­side him.

“A lot of peo­ple have got abil­ity but it is the men­tal side that re­ally sep­a­rates the very top play­ers from the rest. For me, to know that Cookie was go­ing out there to open, gave me a lot of con­fi­dence be­cause I knew that he was al­ways up for the fight and if he got in he was go­ing to score big runs.

“He has been a fan­tas­tic per­former and it will prob­a­bly be a few years be­fore we look back and re­alise just how good he has been. It’s been an out­stand­ing ca­reer from an out­stand­ing bloke and he will be a big miss for Eng­land.”

While Cook’s bat­ting skills will be sorely missed by the na­tional team, no less so will be his char­ac­ter, in­sists Bell.

“Cookie is such a bal­anced bloke,” he said. “As a bats­man there are a lot of lows among the highs. You have to take all the low scores and good de­liv­er­ies and the bad shots and bad de­ci­sions and he has the bal­ance pretty much spot on.

“I’ve been along­side him when we have won the Ashes and when we have lost 5-0 and, what­ever the sit­u­a­tion, he is al­ways the kind of guy you want along­side you in the trenches.

“I’m sure there are a lot of runs left ahead of him for Es­sex. When I was came out of in­ter­na­tional cricket I felt I was far from fin­ished and I think it will be the same with Cookie.”

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