Former England batsman Ian Bell will retire at the end of the 2020 domestic season.
The five-time Ashes winner has spent his entire career with Warwickshire and has announced his decision to call time on his playing days when the Bears wrap up their commitments this season.
“It’s true when they say you know when the time’s right, and unfortunately, my time is now,” the 38-year-old said in a statement.
Well done Belly .. Great career .. 👍 https://t.co/MJx35nPDej
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 5, 2020
“While my hunger and enthusiasm for the sport that I love remain as strong as ever, my body simply can’t keep up with the demands of the game to the standard of which I expect of myself.”
Bell will perhaps be best remembered by England fans for being part of the side which reclaimed the Ashes in 2005, but he would lift the urn on four further occasions during a Test career which yielded 7,727 runs and 22 centuries.
He won 118 Test caps in total, while he played in 161 one-day internationals and eight T20 internationals.
Across his first-class career Bell has scored 20,300 runs at 43.46, with 57 hundreds.
“It’s been an absolute privilege and honour to fulfil my boyhood dream of playing for both England and Warwickshire. As a child, to play just once for either would have been enough for me, but to do so for the past 22 years is more than I could have ever wished for,” he added.
“To have spent my entire career and won trophies with my boyhood club is something both myself and my family are enormously proud of. To everyone associated with the club; the staff, players, fans and anyone I’ve worked with during this time: thank you.”
Bell added that he had taken the decision to renege on a recent new deal because he “couldn’t disrespect the club I love by being unable to play to the level they deserve.”
He made his Test debut in 2004, an impressive 70 against the West Indies showing signs of what was to come, and the runs rarely dried up.
The 2005 Ashes success was followed by the 2009 regaining, 2010 defence and further wins in 2013 and 2015.
“Ian will retire from the game as a true Bears legend. He’s come through our development system and academy, won every trophy possible, and he has broken club batting records,” said Warwickshire sport director Paul Farbrace.
“During his 12-year international career, he was also a fantastic ambassador for Warwickshire CCC who scored runs all over the world and was firmly established as one of the world’s best batsmen.”