The battle for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award is a close run one. Any one of six players could win the award, but it is the under-rated Ian Bell who takes it.
Bell hit two unglamorous half-centuries for England last week - both of which led to wins and helped them get back on track after a poor showing in the first part of the ODI series against New Zealand.
In the third ODI against the Black Caps at Trent Bridge, he helped England avoid a humiliating home series whitewash by hitting 82 off 96 balls to lay the foundations for their total of 287 for six. Then, in their ICC Champions Trophy openeragainst Australia, he made 91 off 115 balls to guide them to 269 for six on a slightly tricky pitch.
Bell’s innings were overshadowed by a number of things. One was Jos Buttler’s devastating 47 not out off only 16 balls at Trent Bridge, while the others were the debates surrounding Jonathan Trott’s presence at number three in England’s batting line-up and the continuing struggles of a once mighty Australian batting line-up.
Through it all, Bell went unnoticed by many but his innings helped England turn around their poor run of form and gave them a good start in an ICC Champions Trophy that many considered them favourites for just three weeks ago.
Besides Bell, Buttler was a contender for this week’s award, as was Misbah-ul-Haq for his unbeaten standalone 96 not out in Pakistan’s defeat to the West Indies. Mitchell McClenaghan also starred, taking seven wickets in two matches, while Lasith Malinga almost helped Sri Lanka defend 138 on Sunday, and Shikhar Dhawan hit a century to get India’s Champions Trophy off to a winning start on Thursday.
© Cricket World 2013