Dislike of Bell was a compliment: Langer | Big Bash League BBL

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Dislike of Bell was a compliment: Langer

30 August 2016

Ian Bell and Justin Langer share their own Ashes history // Getty

Scorchers coach shares Ashes history with new signing but ensures rivalry will be replaced with friendship in Perth

Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer insists the fact that Ian Bell was never one of the Australians' favourite Englishmen during their Ashes battles should be worn as a badge of honour by the BBL club's newest signing.

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And Langer insists any such hostility will be put to one side as the Scorchers – and he hopes, the fans – welcome the vastly experienced batsman into their ranks.

"I think it's fantastic for the Scorchers," said the 105-Test veteran, who played against Bell in back-to-back Ashes series in 2005 and 2006-07, the last series of Langer's decorated international career.

"It might seem a bit different, because he was really well known as a Test player, and he's had some great success as a one-day international player as well.

"He's had limited Twenty20 exposure over the years because of his international commitments, but we just couldn't go past his experience; he's played 118 Tests and over 150 one-day internationals.

"So to have someone like that who at the age of 34 is still a gun fieldsman and is still hungry to get back into the England side, hopefully it will work out really well for us."

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Asked about the potential for a clash of personalities between Bell and fellow new recruit Mitchell Johnson – who also took on the Englishman in the cauldron of Ashes cricket on numerous occasions – Langer instead dug into his own recollections.

"We never used to like Ian Bell much, and as Aussies we can't give him a greater compliment," he explained.

"He was always tough, he played well, he was tough to get out, so it'll be nice to have him in our team rather than against us.

"We had some real ding-dong battles in our time with England, with Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood and James Anderson – those guys back then.

"So it'll be nice to be friends with him rather than rivals."

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Bell becomes the third English recruit under Langer's watch in recent years, following in the footsteps of David Willey, who is set to return for a 4-5 game stint in BBL|06, and Michael Carberry, who spent two summers at The Furnace.

And Langer is confident the stylish right-hander can win over the locals, as his predecessors have done.

"(Bell) copped it for so many years playing against Australia, hopefully when he comes here with the Scorchers he'll be a real hit, particularly if he makes runs," he added.

"Michael Carberry was outstanding for us, not only in terms of runs – he had some good innings – but just the impact he had around here, he was such a terrific bloke, so Ian Bell, if he does all the right things, I'm sure he'll be just as popular."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

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