Sports Personality contender: Ian Bell - England cricket's Ashes hero

During the countdown to the 60th BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday 15 December, we will be looking at each of the 10 shortlisted contenders.

Ian Bell was England's leading man in a triumphant summer of cricket where he made Australia suffer with his prolific run scoring.

The 31-year-old Warwickshire batsman was named man-of-the-series as England secured a 3-0 home triumph.

Ian Bell factfile

Ian Bell
  • Born: April 11, 1982, Walsgrave, Coventry, Warwickshire
  • 2013 highlights: Man-of-series in England's summer Ashes victory over Australia
  • Career highlights: Before current tour had played in five Ashes series, and won four.

His tally of 562 at an average of 62.44 from the middle order equalled the English record for the most runs scored in a five-match home Ashes, set by Denis Compton back in 1948.

The right-hander, known as 'Belly', also became only the fifth Englishman to score three consecutive centuries in Ashes Tests.

"As a batter, you can't ask any more than what Ian Bell's done for us, and he deserves all the praise he's had," said England captain Alastair Cook.

When in top form, Bell is not just a relentless run machine, but a stylish cricketer whose well-honed technique is admired by cricket followers.

Born in Warwickshire, he has been a stalwart for his home county since becoming the youngest player to make a century for the Bears at the age of 19 years and 115 days.

He had played just 13 first-class games when called into the England squad for the first time in 2002, and struck 70 in his first Test innings, against the West Indies two years later.

Bell has bounced back when critics have circled, hitting a memorable 199 against South Africa at Lord's in 2008 when some had pointed to his seeming inability to convert fifties into hundreds.

Bell relishing Ashes challenge

Defiant knocks in South Africa and Bangladesh reinforced his ability to perform away from home.

And he demonstrated his strength domestically with a captain's innings of 107 off 95 balls for his county in the CB40 final of 2010.

Bell, a winner in four Ashes series, helped secure the third of those when 115 - his first Test ton against Australia - sealed a 3-1 series win at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2011.

Sri Lanka and India felt the force with a career-best 235 against the latter at The Oval making him England's highest Test scorer of the year, with 950 runs at an average of 118.75.

Moved up the order for limited-overs internationals, Bell rung up significant scores in successes against the West Indies and Australia, before last year's maiden Test century against India in a landmark series win.

Did you know?

Bell has scored 20 Test centuries, including at least one against every Test Nation except Zimbabwe (who England have not played in a Test since 2003).

Then he showed superior timing and composure in the 2013 defeat of Australia.

"There's a certain confidence when you've got runs behind you. When you're searching for that big score, you sometimes try too hard. When you're playing well, not only does it look slowed down, but you allow things to happen. You don't go looking for it."

With more than 6,000 runs under his belt and approaching 100 caps, he has proved a mainstay of the national side for a decade,

Boasting an average of more than 46 per innings going into the return series down under, Bell will hope to be at his belligerent best as England seek to recover from a terrible start.