Bell applauds India, Jacqueline upbeat with foray into cricket - GulfToday

Bell applauds India, Jacqueline upbeat with foray into cricket


Bollywood heartthrob Jacqueline Fernandes (left) poses with the other dignitaries during a press conference.

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter

Former England batsman Ian Bell heaped praises on the rampant India for their series-winning performance against England.

Indian have taken an unassailable lead of 3-1 in the five-match series, which is currently underway. The last match of the series will be played from March 7 at Dharamshala.

“Full marks to India for their outstanding performance. They are one of the best teams in the world. They have already clinched the series with one match to go. Despite playing with a make-shift team in the absence of many of their star players, they have outclassed England completely,” said Bell.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held in Dubai for the launch of the jersey of the England Champions. The Franchise of England Champions is the first team to launch their jersey for the upcoming tournament -- World Champions of Legends.

World Champions of Legends is a six-team franchise tournament, validated by the England Cricket Board. It is scheduled to be played at Edgbaston Cricket ground in Birmingham from July 3-13, 2024.

The press conference was attended by Bell, Bollywood heartthrob Jacqueline Fernandes; WCL Founder and CEO Harshit Tomar, Meteor Developers CEO; Praveen Kumar Sharma and Meteor Partner Omar La Omour.

Bell, who has played over 100 Test matches and scored a whopping 7,000 plus runs, showed his concern on the dwindling skills of the batters to play long innings.

“With the rise of the shorter format, the temperaments of the batsmen have been affected. They find it difficult to bat for long hours. But it is all about a different set of skills,” he added.

Bell who has played against ferocious pacers like Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Brett Lee to name a few, picked India’s Zaheer Khan as the most dangerous to face.

“I think Zaheer was very difficult to play against, especially in England. He was very precise and had the ability to swing the ball on both sides. His reverse swings were very dangerous,” said the former England opener, who is the coach of the U-19 England Team.

He also showed interest in coaching one of the teams at the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I would love to coach any IPL team. It is an honour. It is the best and the most expensive league in the world. They have the best of the talents from across the globe, plying their trade in the prestigious league. To be a part of the IPL in anyways, is a great opportunity and honour for anyone,” he stressed.

Bell is also a die-hard Aston Villa aficionado and follows them closely.

“I am a Villa fan. I think this time around they are going to give a tough fight for the title. They are already in the top four,” he apprised.

Bell also claimed to be relishing the prospect of playing for England Champions at the World Champions of Legends.

“I am looking forward to meeting some of the old team-mates as well as some on-field rivals, who have been great friends off it over the years. I think it is going to bring a lot of old friends together.

The tournament has the mouth-watering prospect of an India-Pakistan match, as well as England-Australia, amongst several other riveting cricketing rivalries. The six teams include England, Australia, India, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa.

Jacqueline signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tomar and owner Meteora Developers as a co-owner of the England Champions. Jacqueline's presence will sprinkle some stardust on the star-studded tournament, which is likely to feature the big names like Shahid Afridi, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle and many more.

Jacqueline said that she has learnt about cricket gradually and sees this as a great opportunity to be involved in the game.

"This is my first association with a league. It is a new, exciting experience for me," said Jacqueline, who has a big legion of fan following.

Millions of her fans are crazy about her dance moves, which depict a rare combination of raw sensuality along with a lot of dignity.

Praveen Kumar explained that there will be no draft, as the tournament is nationality-based. He feels this will make it more competitive.

The fact that this tournament will be played at the height of the summer in England, is one of its main selling points. The teams being country-based, is guaranteed to make it a star attraction for a large number of loyal fans.

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