Bell relinquishes Bears captaincy to focus on batting
FORMER England batsman Ian Bell will turn his full attention to batting having stepped down as Warwickshire captain.
Bell, who last played for England in November 2015, was named skipper ahead of last season and led the county to the One-Day Cup last September.
But, less than a year later, Warwickshire now sit bottom of County Championship Division One, though they have progressed to the T20 Blast quarter-finals, where they will face Surrey this evening.
Bell is yet to score a century in the Championship this summer, indeed his last came in April 2016, and Jonathan Trott will take over as captain for the four-day game. Grant Elliott is expected to take the reins at the Oval today.
Bell said: “This is the right time for me to stand down. As a senior player, I will support the team in all ways possible and I believe that our squad has very exciting times ahead.
“It’s been an absolute honour to lead my home county and my decision to stand down is something that I have thought long and hard about over a period of weeks.”
Bell has played in 118 Tests for England as well as 161 oneday internationals and eight T20 matches, but has scored just 345 runs from 14 innings in this year’s County Championship, at an average of 24.64.
He has tasted success in the shorter formats, winning the most recent edition of the Big Bash with Perth Scorchers.
Ashley Giles, sport director at Warwickshire, said:“Ian and I have spoken regularly throughout the season and he made the decision to stand down as skipper following our County Championship win over Middlesex two weeks ago.
“The team has gone through a transformation period and Ian has been instrumental during this time, leading the team to a trophy at the end of 2016 and helping bring through several of our younger players in recent months, during a difficult period.
“It’s very brave of Ian to make this decision, but one that we fully respect. Having him focused solely on scoring runs for Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears is a huge asset to the club as we bid to reach a third Finals Day in four years and aim to build on our Championship victory at Lord’s.”