Ian Bell: England batsman stands down as Warwickshire & Birmingham Bears captain

Ian Bell
Ian Bell is the most capped international in Warwickshire's history

Ian Bell has stepped down as captain of Warwickshire in all formats of the game to focus on his batting.

The 35-year-old England Test batsman led his side to One-Day Cup victory at Lord's in September 2016 but, less than 12 months on, Warwickshire are bottom of Division One in the Championship.

Bell, who last played for England in November 2015, was left out of the Bears' T20 side last Friday night.

"This is the right time for me to stand down," said Coventry-born Bell.

"As a senior player, I will support the team in all ways possible and I believe that our squad has very exciting times ahead.

"It's been an absolute honour to lead my home county over the last 18 months. My decision to stand down is something that I have thought long and hard about over a period of weeks."

Bell is to be replaced by former England team-mate Jonathan Trott as captain of Warwickshire's Championship side.

The county's sports director Ashley Giles said that Bell had made a "brave" decision, admitting: "Having him focused solely on scoring runs for Warwickshire and the Birmingham Bears is a huge asset to the club."

Bears in Championship relegation bother

Warwickshire, who won limited-overs silverware in Bell's first season as captain, are in Division One relegation trouble, having lost five of their nine Championship matches - four of them by an innings.

Bell, the most capped international in Warwickshire history, having played 118 Tests, 161 one-day internationals and eight T20 matches, has scored 345 runs from 14 innings, at an average of 24.64. He has not made a Championship century since April 2016.

Ian Bell with the Ashes trophy in 2015
Ian Bell has played in five Ashes-winning series - 2005, 2009, 2010-11, 2013 and 2015

Bell, who was part of the Birmingham Bears' T20 Blast title-winning side in 2014, also won the Big Bash in Australia last winter with Perth Scorchers.

This summer, he has hit 251 runs in 12 matches, at a strike rate of 117.29, but he was dropped down the order after a run of poor scores at opener.

Having not batted at all in the Bears' penultimate game, he was then left out altogether for the final group game on Friday, which the Bears won against Lancashire at Old Trafford to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

New Zealand international Grant Elliott captained the side and will do so again for this Friday's last-eight tie against Surrey at The Oval.

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