Exclusive: Ian Bell confident English cricket is on the rise through young stars

Bell shows his excitement as positive mindsets and solid performances from young talents should level up English cricket in the near future

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-04-26

Louis Hobbs

9 minutes read

Derbyshire coach Ian Bell arriving at a cricket match

Rise of young talent to up the level of English cricket 

Ashes-winning cricket legend Ian Bell is confident the future is bright for English cricket.

SportsBoom managed to chat with Ian at the Fevo Sports Industry Awards.

Batter Bell famously helped England win the Ashes in 2005 and 2009 during a distinguished career at the top level.

And having enjoyed a stellar spell on the world stage, which included no fewer than 22 Test centuries, the 42-year-old knows exactly what is required to shine against the best in the business.

“There’s a lot of talent coming through, it’s exciting,” Bell told SportsBoom.

“The cricket landscape is changing all the time, especially with the IPL [Indian Premier League], but there’s a lot of great English talent coming through, there’s no doubt about that.

“It’s really exciting, especially with the brand of cricket England are playing at the moment.”

Shining spotlight on up-and-comers

England’s Test side have dazzled under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes’ exciting Baz-ball brand of cricket.

And Bell, who made his international Test debut in August 2004 against the West Indies, is excited about the new brand of attacking batters and emerging talent from the county game onto the international stage.

“Look at Harry Brook, he’s been very impressive,” reflected Bell.

Image Credits: @Harry_Brook_88 (

Image Credits: @Harry_Brook_88 (

“I’ve known Harry for a while, I’ve done a bit of work with him out at the Big Bash in Australia and he’s a great young man.

“He’s hungry for success, got loads of talent, but the best is yet to come.

“I think we’ve seen the start of what is going to be an amazing career over the next 10-15 years.

Bell added: “There’s Jamie Smith at Surrey, he’s a very similar player. He’s very aggressive but has a good technique as well.

“And it’s not just slogging, he’s a got a great technique and is fearless as well. He’s a real talent, he’s someone I’d definitely keep an eye out with the bat.

“And I think [spinner] Rehan Ahmed is also a great talent – and we’ve also seen a glimpse of him [at international] level as well.

Image Credits: @RehanAhmed__16 (

Image Credits: @RehanAhmed__16 (

“He’s a really exciting teenager coming on to the scene – and he’s a got a talented younger brother as well – so the future is bright.

“The best thing with The Hundred [competition] is that it’s helping to unearth a lot of talent, on a wide scale, that we’ve got.

quote icon

And there are many more talented young players coming through.

Ian Bell

Separating the worlds of franchise and Test cricket

Franchise cricket is on the rise with many formats of the game attracting different audiences.

And Bell, who has played all formats of the game, believes there’s definitely a place for each discipline, whether it be T20 cricket or one-day internationals.

But the former Warwickshire skipper turned coach is adamant Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the sport in young players’ eyes.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to take a little bit of juggling because franchise cricket isn’t slowing down,” stressed Bell.

“There’ll definitely be more of that, so the next few years are definitely going to be interesting.

“I think it will be a bit of give and take, but for all of us and the young generation coming through, Test cricket is still seen as the pinnacle if you want to be seen as one of the best players in the world.

“You still have to succeed in Test cricket if you want to reach that level.

“But there’s no doubt franchise cricket is a beast that is growing at a rapid rate.

“I think for the players it’s looking after the tradition of the game and also enjoying what franchise cricket holds as well.”

For more exclusive interviews and the latest news and guides in the cricket world, make sure to stay connected with

Recommended Articles

5 Fastest Cricket Pitch in the World
Subhayan Dutta
Sports Writer
Updated: 2023-11-21
5 minutes read
Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.