Former England batter Ian Bell has joined county side Derbyshire as a batting consultant. Bell will serve in the role for the first two months of the County Championship season, replacing Mal Loye.
Bell joins a new-look coaching setup at Derbyshire helmed by head coach Mickey Arthur and his former England team-mate, Ajmal Shahzad, as the bowling coach.
“As a young coach, the opportunity to learn from one of the biggest names in the game was massive. Mickey has big plans for the future of Derbyshire, and I’m really excited to be part of it for the next couple of months. I had my first session with the team yesterday and there’s a lot of talent there,” said Bell in a statement.
“Now it’s about making sure that it’s always on show across all formats. Between them, our batters have more than 100 all-formats centuries and there’s the ability to make big scores, my job is to help them to continue progressing and perform at their best,” added Bell, a five-time Ashes winner.
In 118 Test matches for England, Bell scored 7,727 runs at an average of 42.69, including 22 centuries with the highest score of 235 against India in 2011. He also scored 5,416 runs from 161 ODIs at an average of 37.87, including four centuries and 35 fifties. In terms of first-class cricket, Bell amassed more the 20,000 first-class runs in a career that saw him win six domestic trophies with Warwickshire, including two County Championships.
After his playing days ended, Bell went into coaching the England’s Under 19s between 2019 and 2020 apart from short stints with BBL side Hobart Hurricanes, Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred and Chennai Braves in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
“As a player, Ian had a career which any batter would be proud of, and it will be a great opportunity for our players to learn from him and develop under his coaching. Last season, the batting was an aspect of the squad’s game that needed to improve, so Ian’s arrival gives us a real boost, he has considerable international experience and that will help us continue to drive the standards we’ve set for the team,” stated Arthur.
Batting has been a major source of concern for Derbyshire, who nearly managed to avoid the wooden spoon in County Championship last season. They’ve now added Pakistan batter Shan Masood as well as Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal, who retired from international cricket in March after Tests against India, to their squad.
Derbyshire open their County Championship campaign against Middlesex at Lord’s Cricket Ground from Thursday.