Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook (above) praised Ian Bell who has scored 500 runs in the ongoings Ashes series so far © Getty Images

Aug 20, 2013

Ahead of the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval, England skipper Alastair Cook has come out in praise of teammate Ian Bell, who has been England’s best batsman in the series so far.

In a series where batsmen have found it tough to amass big scores, Bell has 500 runs to his tally at an average of 71.42, including three tons.

“He’s got to be very close to the man-of-the-series [award] because those runs he’s scored have been fantastic when we’ve needed them the most,” Cook said of bell.

“Everyone has said this has been the making of Ian Bell and I looked at that and almost laughed because he’d almost scored 6000 Test runs and 17 hundreds [before the Ashes] which is an extraordinary achievement in itself. He’s always been a star in our eyes.”

Talking about Bell’s impact in the series so far, Cook said, “They’ve been vital runs all the time, all three of his hundreds. He couldn’t have done any more.”

When asked about assessing his leadership since Andrew Strauss’s retirement in 2012, he said, ” It’s very hard talking about yourself, I find, about the role you do,” Cook said.

“It’s for other people to judge whether you’re a good leader or not. I can only say the guys have been excellent for me, and long may that continue,” he added.

(With inputs from AFP)