Ian Bell exclusive: 'I'm currently playing my best ever ODI cricket'

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Ian Bell has told GiveMeSport he is in the form of his life in the One Day International arena ahead of the Royal London ODI series against Sri Lanka which starts at the Oval on Thursday afternoon.

The stylish batsman made a return to T20 cricket against the same opposition on Tuesday evening as he scored 13 with England losing by nine runs. That was his first game of T20 for anybody since January 2011 which comes off the back of a hugely successful start to his 2014 summer with Warwickshire.

The 32-year-old made his international debut in 2004 and is on the verge of his 100th Test Match appearance and could surpass 150 ODIs this summer which underlines his importance to the England set-up.

Bell has opened up the batting in the 50-over game since 2011 and has formed a successful partnership with Alastair Cook which helped England reach the ICC Champions Trophy Final last summer.

Sri Lanka will provide a stern challenge to Bell and his team mates who welcome captain Cook, Gary Ballance and Jimmy Anderson into the squad for the 1pm start at the Oval on Thursday. On a personal note Bell can’t wait to pit his wits against Sri Lanka and as he explained to GiveMeSport in an exclusive interview he says he is in the form of his life.

“The 50-overs stuff couldn’t have gone any better recently and I think over the past two years I have played by best ODI cricket for England so to be at the top of the order and have stability and form a good partnership with Alastair Cook it has been key to the success.

“With no (Jonathan) Trotty at the minute it is going to be a slightly different top three but I’ve really enjoyed it at the minute and my stats have proven I have achieved my best results at the top of the order over the last two years. I’m really enjoying my cricket in the 50-over cricket.”

His stats certainly do back that up with his average since the start of 2012 a shade under 47 compared to his career ODI average of 37. He carried on that momentum against Scotland earlier this month with a well-made half-century between a strong start to the season with his county side, as captain.

The 2013 Ashes Man of the Series scored two centuries, a 97 and 75 in his four County Championship matches for the Bears as preparation for a busy summer started in fluid fashion. He feels he is in a good place ahead of the Sri Lankan ODI series.

“It’s been good to get that stint in county cricket and you get excited now that the international fixtures are here and you are going to get started which is always an exciting time.

“Obviously it’s been a difficult winter for everyone. I felt my batting has always been in good form throughout the winter, even though our results haven’t been great. It’s been nice to kick-start the season really well and I feel in good order with the bat so hopefully I can take that into the international games this summer,” said Bell.

“It’s been good fun captaining Warwickshire, when I am back with my county I have always tried to get as involved as I possibly can into the game. I think it’s dangerous to go back just for an individual reason, I want to contribute as much as I can and I really enjoyed the four games that I have played."

Sri Lanka cricket
Ian Bell
England cricket

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