Daniel James Bell-Drummond
August 04, 1993, Lewisham, London
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
England's Lions coach Andy Flower predicted great things for both Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ben Duckett when they shared the second highest limited-overs partnership in world cricket - 367 in 232 balls - against Sri Lanka A on Bell-Drummond's home ground of Canterbury. Duckett made 220, Bell-Drummond 171, but while Duckett made his England breakthrough on the subsequent winter tours to Bangladesh and India, Bell-Drummond received only another Lions call-up and subsequently failed to make the progress that had been anticipated.
Bell-Drummond was still a teenager when his captain Rob Key roundly declared that he had the talent to play 100 Tests. Widely regarded as one of the most exciting young batsmen in the UK, Bell-Drummond was soon turning heads with his aggressive style and lavish strokeplay - a nod to his Caribbean roots.
Having inherited some of his father's talent - Percival Bell-Drummond played for Dorset - Daniel was picked up by Kent as a seven-year-old playing for Catford Wanderers CC and later that summer scored a century for Kent Under-10s. He attended Millfield School and represented England at Under-15s, 17s and 19s level - becoming the highest run-scorer for England in youth ODIs with a century against Australia in April 2012.
He signed a three-year professional contract with Kent in 2011, aged 17, and made his first-class debut later that summer, impressing with a fluent 80 from 103 balls for against Loughborough MCCU. His one-day debut was equally eye-catching with 42 in just 30 balls against Worcestershire in the Clydesdale Bank 40, and earned him a place in Kent's four remaining matches in the competition.
An injury to Key at the end of the summer allowed Bell-Drummond to make his County Championship debut, against Essex at Canterbury, and play the final two games of the season. But he had to wait until July of the following summer, a tour match against the touring South Africans, for his next first-team appearance. He also played the final County Championship match of the summer at Cardiff.
Much was expected of Bell-Drummond at the Under-19s World Cup in Australia in August 2012 but he made four single-figure scores in six matches, with a top score of 23, as England finished a disappointing fifth. Kent showed faith in him, however, and he secured the No. 3 slot in County Championship cricket in 2013, scoring 466 runs. He was also entrusted with an opening role in T20 matches. His maiden Championship hundred, a patient affair against Derbyshire at Canterbury, was one of two in 2014 when he topped Kent's Championship averages, although falling just short of 1,000 runs.
He began to justify Key's optimism when, at 21, he thrilled Canterbury with a 92-ball hundred against Australia in 2015, putting a first-innings duck against Mitchell Johnson behind him and achieving three figures with successive sixes off the legspin of Fawad Alam. It even drew memories of the century Colin Cowdrey had made against the Australians on the same ground 40 years earlier. His red-ball cricket remained inconsistent, but by the end of the season, England Lions had come calling for an autumn limited-overs tour against Pakistan in the UAE.
2016 was another year of progress as he improved his best score in each format and extended his education with England Lions, sharing a 200-run partnership with Tom Alsop in Colombo that was a third-wicket record for the Lions. A year later, there was a world-record T20 opening stand to celebrate as he put on 207 with Joe Denly against Essex at Chelmsford, but Kent's promotion year was a personal disappointment as he made only one fifty in 13 matches.
A couple of low-scoring years followed his Lions exploits, leaving him unsold - surprisingly - at the Hundred draft in 2019. He used some time in grade cricket and the Covid pandemic to work on his T20 power-hitting, and was the T20 Blast's leading run-scorer the following summer as Kent reached the quarter-finals.
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