Ask Belly - Fans Q&A
Bears and England star Ian Bell responds to your questions on the new Edgbaston.com.
Q: Where and when do you remember first falling in love with cricket and sport itself? Dan Shorthouse, Wolverhampton
A: Watching the final of the 1993 NatWest Trophy final at Lords made me decide that I wanted to be a cricketer and play to for Warwickshire.
Asif Din hit an amazing century when we looked out of it, but we got home and it was the first of several trophies for the Bears during the 90s.
Q: How does it feel when you are representing England? Sarah Wagstaff, Smethwick
A: It’s amazing to be able to walk out and play for England. When I was a youngster I always thought how incredible it would be to play 100 Test Matches for England. I’m not too far away from that now, but I have to keep working very hard to help realise dreams like this.
I think it’s when your England place is taken away from you that you realise how much you’re missing and the great privilege that comes with playing for your country.
Q: Hi Ian if you weren’t a cricket player what occupation would you have chosen? You are a true Bear. Peter Lowe, Birmingham
A: I would love to have been a footballer and played for Villa if I hadn’t made it as a cricketer.
My more likely route would have been to have gone to University though and I would have wanted to have worked in sport in some capacity.
Q: Would you like to see more county cricket played at outgrounds such as Stratford and Coventry? James Wright, Coventry
A: It would be nice to play more matches around the county, but it’s a difficult balance to strike when we play in one of the world’s leading Test Match grounds in Edgbaston.
From a player’s preparation point of view we have everything at Edgbaston and we obviously want the team to be as best equipped as possible for each fixture. If we are to play more games at the outgrounds then we have to ensure that we don’t compromise this.
Q: Who do you tip for the top within the current Warwickshire squad? Fraser West, Birmingham
A: Chris Woakes keeps making massive strides forward each year and his batting has really come on this year with two LV County Championship tons.
He’s getting stronger and I think he could become the all-rounder that England have been looking for with the ability to bat at 7, but also capable of leading the attack with the new ball as he does for Warwickshire.
Q: Ian hope all is well and well done for this season. My question is what has been your highlight to date was it your double century or back to back ashes win? Phill Thompson, York
A: The Ashes has to top things really as it means so much to all the England fans, players and management team.
Getting the hundred in the final Test in Sydney particularly stands out as a special achievement in my career.
Q: Which is your favourite form of cricket? Miles Hallett, Ashby De La Zouch
A: Test cricket is certainly the most satisfying form of the game to play. Every time that you win a Test Match you know how hard you’ve had to work to earn that victory over five days.
Q: Ian....did you ever play for willoughby? Many thanks, Peter. Peter Roberts, Ammanford
A: I didn’t play for Willoughby but I did play against them as a junior for Dunchurch.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a budding cricketer? Daniel Underwood, Walsall
A: The most important thing is that you keep enjoying what you’re doing as when that moment goes it becomes difficult to play the game at the best of your ability.
There’s a lot of hard yards to go through with fitness work, technique and constructive criticism to take.
When I first started playing the game there was a big focus on keeping your left elbow high. Now there’s the need to hit 6s too.
To get to the top of the game you have to realise that there’s a lot of sacrifices to make and unsociable hours to put in, and if you lose the motivation to keep doing that then perhaps it’s not the career for you.
Q: What training do you do to improve your fielding? Joe Cooke, Watford
A: There two things that make you a better fielder. The first is to get stronger and fitter as that makes a few skills little bit easier.
The second thing is to keep practising. The more you catch the easier it becomes, and it’s similar for direct throws at the stumps - you get better at it if you do it more.
Q: Who were your Warwickshire Bears & Villa idols when you were a child? Simon Banner, Birmingham
A: I grew up watching the great Bears teams of the early 90s, with overseas players like Allan Donald and Brian Lara. However, the foundations of those sides were made by the strengths of the team rather than individuals, which is very similar to the current team, where everyone is capable of a match-winning performance.
I also remember watching Graham Taylor’s Villa side of the 1989/90 season where my favourite players were David Platt and Gordon Cowans.
A massive thanks to Ian for responding to your questsions. Another Bears Q&A will take place in the coming weeks.