June 22, 2002

Gold award for Warwickshire's rising star

Ian Bell's coach at Warwickshire was full of praise for the 20-year-old after he won the gold award for carrying the Bears to victory in the last-ever Benson and Hedges Cup final.

Bell's unbeaten 65 saw Warwickshire home by five wickets after Essex had under-perfomed with only 181 for eight. Bell shared in an 84-run third-wicket stand in only 12 overs with Jim Troughton, ensuring Warwickshire's victory with almost 14 overs to spare.

Coach Bob Woolmer said: "Ian has a terrific big-match temperament. Here, as in the quarter-final against Sussex in a tight situation, he came in and never looked like getting out. That is the sign of a very good player. He plays as if he is there for bed and breakfast."

Warwickshire's winning captain Michael Powell praised both Bell and Troughton.

"Bob picked his man of the match last night and he was right," said Powell. "But I said then `the other one may not be too far away either'. To watch those two guys out there helping us win a final was a joy."

"With the bat the best thing for us was me and Nick (Knight) getting out as early as possible and letting these two get in."

Bell himself said: "This was the biggest occasion of my career so far, and I would like to think I came through it quite nicely. It was a great experience, and I would like to do it again some time."

Essex captain Ronnie Irani admitted: "We were poor in all departments and we let ourselves and our supporters down. Our one-day form speaks for itself this season. We have been outstanding - but we came down at the final hurdle when it mattered most today.

"We have to go away and learn from it. We cannot go and sink our heads in the sand. Unfortunately our execution - obviously our batting, but our bowling as well - was wrong today."