Ian Bell has ended a month’s absence from cricket by captaining Warwickshire in the absence of Jim Troughton.

And Bell has had the benefit of being able to spend some time with newborn baby son Joseph, who was born during the winter.

“It was lovely to spend some time with Joseph,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “But it has been far from a month just with my feet up.”

Despite this, the England batsman has been adhering to a strict fitness regime after a lengthy spell away from the wicket.

“I have been in the gym and working very hard,” said Bell. “You have to keep at it with the physical work but it is nice to have a break from the mental side of it.”

Bell endured a fairly hectic winter period due to Tests in India, coupled with a trip to New Zealand, and admits he was happy to recuperate for a spell.

However, the stand-in-skipper expressed excitement about the prospect of playing for Warwickshire once again, with the County Championship having just begun.

“There comes a time when you want to get playing again and it’s great to have a couple of games for Warwickshire,” he said.

The Bears are currently suffering something of an injury crisis, with Troughton (shoulder), Rikki Clarke (hamstring) and Olly Hannon-Dalby (arm) all ruled out of the match in Hove.

Warwickshire have won one and drawn the other two of their opening three fixtures, with Sussex also boasting an unbeaten start before the two locked horns this week.

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