C365 Player of the week: Ian Bell

England

We considered giving England batsman Jonathan Trott our coveted Player of the Week award, but we've still not forgiven him for insulting Cape Town, so we're giving it to his colleague and fellow top order batsman Ian Bell instead.

We considered giving England batsman Jonathan Trott our coveted Player of the Week award, but we've still not forgiven him for insulting Cape Town, so we're giving it to his colleague and fellow top order batsman Ian Bell instead.

In all seriousness, Belly does deserve the accolade, as he is England's top run-scorer in the ODI series against South Africa so far (after four games), and his 88 in the fourth ODI secured the win for his country as they reclaimed the number one ODI ranking till the end of the year.

Bell didn't have a fantastic Test series against the Proteas, scoring just two fifties in six innings, but he's been a strawberry blonde assassin in the fifty-over games this week, making 171 runs at an average of 57 and a strike rate of 84, almost without anyone noticing.

The first ODI in Cardiff was rained out with Bell on 26 off 18 balls, and he was pretty much the only person on the field disappointed to walk off, just three days after the third Test ended. He followed that up with a swift 45 in the second game, which England lost by 80 runs.

The third and fourth games (they packed them in this week!) saw him increase his run tally to 171, and although he's still a hefty amount behind run leader Hashim Amla (238, ave 79) his contribution of 88 in chasing 221 to win at Lord's gave England the series lead with one game to play.

Honourable mention this week must go to Australia's Mitchell Starc, whose five-fer in the first game and four-fer in the third handed his side a 2-1 series win over Pakistan.

They played in sweltering heat and humidity in the UAE, with Starc barely managing to lift a hand in celebration when he bowled Kamran Akmal in the final match, but he kept running in on an unfriendly wicket, putting in the effort and walking away with the Man of the Series award.

Also, mentions for past PotW winners Amla for his 150 in the second ODI against England, and Virat Kohli for his century and fifty in the second Test against New Zealand that saw India win the series 2-0.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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