Perth Scorchers recruit Ian Bell believes Alastair Cook has earnt the right to dictate how long he remains England’s Test captain but says it’s “only a matter of time” before star batsman Joe Root takes the reins.
England managed a draw in the first Test of their recent tour of India but the hosts went on to win the remaining four matches to send Cook’s side spiralling down to No.5 on the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings.
With an Ashes series looming next summer, the 31-year-old conceded he would “do some thinking” about whether he would continue in the wake of the series defeat or handover to skipper-in-waiting Root.
“‘Cooky’ has earnt the right to call his time,” Bell told cricket.com.au after crafting an impressive 61 off 41 balls on KFC Big Bash League debut for the Perth Scorchers.
“He’s been very successful not just in terms of the runs he’s scored, but also in terms of his stats as captain.
“We’ll see – it looks like ‘Rooty’ is the man to take over.
“I’m sure, as ‘Cooky’ has done right through his career, he’ll make the right call for the team ahead of his own individual thoughts.”
Root had been earmarked as a potential international star well before his Test debut in 2012 and while he was dropped during the 2013-14 Ashes series whitewash, he’s since become the crown jewel in England’s top-order in all three formats.
The prodigious right-hander took over from Bell as the Test side’s vice-captain last year, before Bell lost his spot in the side altogether later in 2015.
Yet Bell, who’s played 35 Tests alongside Root, said the younger batsman’s seamless ability to find his feet at international level after an early setback revealed his capacity for greater responsibility.
“He came into the team and started learning, (then) he got left out (but) then came back in. The great thing about Joe is he learns very quickly,” Bell said.
“He’s obviously become a world-class player like Smith and Kohli at the minute.
“He’s always had that natural ability. The consistency has been fantastic and hopefully that can continue when he does (become captain).
“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he does become England captain and hopefully those runs keep coming.”
With 118 Tests and five Ashes series wins to his name, Bell hasn’t given up hope of a recall with another tour Down Under on the horizon.
“I definitely want to get back in the (Test) team,” he said.
“I’ve been very lucky to have had a long career.
“I’d like to force my way back in, but that’s not really on my mind out while I’m out here. My mind is just on winning games for Perth Scorchers.
“I haven’t played a lot of T20 through Test appearances. It’s nice to be able to get the opportunity to play in one of the best T20 tournaments in the world with some great players.
“I’m going to learn a lot from some very good players in the next month or so and try to improve my T20 skills.
“When you come to a new team and you’re the overseas player, you want to start well so it was nice to get a win and contribute with the bat.”