Ian Bell played 118 Tests, 161 ODIs and 8 T20Is for England from 2004 to 2014, scoring 7727, 5416 and 188 runs, respectively. He was the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year in 2006
In just 50 days from now, the ICC Champions Trophy will officially start and we cricket fans will be treated to close to three weeks of entertainment, drama and amazing sport, put on by the very best cricketers in the world.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!
As a player who has experience of the ICC Champions Trophy, I can promise you it’s a tournament the players get really excited about and are desperate to win.
It really is a case of the top players from around the globe battling it out and I'm just very happy it’s over here in the UK so we get the opportunity to enjoy it first-hand.
We came close to winning it last time it was over here back in 2013 and I’m tipping our boys to go one better this time and lift the trophy.
With the players we’ve got and the home backing of the British public, everything is in place for a special summer of cricket and I’m confident we’re going to see just that.
It’s been said many times, but I don’t think you can rival the backing the public over here gives to sporting events in this country.
If any of the players arriving over here are unsure what they’re going to be in for, they only need to look at the incredible atmosphere and crowds the British public put on whenever an event comes to town.
After London Olympics 2012, I had so many people from around the world telling me they were amazed, and often quite jealous, about how the country really got behind our sportsmen and women and I’m certain we’ll see something similar 50 days from now.
Add to that, the amazing fans of other nations already based over here and those visiting supporting their teams; it’s really going to be something to behold.
Hopefully it’s going to be a superb mix of nations, cultures and support, culminating in an electric atmosphere and just a massive buzz around the whole country.
As a player, either when with England or when playing in packed-out grounds for Warwickshire or the Scorchers in the Big Bash, I often look around while at the non-striking end or when in the field and think ‘wow, this is what it’s about’.
This, I’m certain, is going to happen with many of the players during this tournament.
Visiting players and fans alike will not just enjoy the cricket on the field, but hopefully also the British hospitality and visiting the wonderful cities hosting the matches.
There’s so much to do in every city and I’m certain everyone will make the fans feel right at home.
I’m lucky enough to have played international cricket at each ICC Champions Trophy match venue and I can honestly say they will all add something different and special to the tournament.
So my message to everyone intending to watch some matches: have a brilliant time and really get behind your players, no matter which team you support. You really can be the difference!
To those who hadn’t planned on attending a game: take a punt! Come down, try something new and who knows, you may find a new passion, or at the very least, just enjoy a cracking day of sport.
And finally to the players: enjoy it!
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