Harry Brook can be England’s middle-order match-winner during Ashes – Ian Bell

Harry Brook can be England’s middle-order match-winner during Ashes – Ian Bell

Ten years on from his career-best Ashes summer of 2013, Ian Bell has tipped Harry Brook to prove he can be England’s latest middle-order “match-winner” against Australia.

Bell won the urn on five separate occasions as a player, peaking a decade ago when he was named man of the series during England’s 3-0 success on home soil.

He hit centuries in each of his side’s victories, with matching knocks of 109 at Lord’s and Trent Bridge followed by 113 at Chester-le-Street, and topped the scoring charts with 562 runs.

Bell moved up and down the batting order during his 118-cap career but his golden summer came at number five, the position Brook has made his own over the course of a prolific winter.

The Yorkshireman already has four hundreds from his first seven Tests – averaging 81.80 – and Bell is confident he has a game that will hold up to the heat of Ashes cricket.

“In terms of ability and talent there’s no doubt, Harry is a match-winner in his own right and he’s proved it already,” Bell told the PA news agency.

“He has a wonderful technique, which is the first and most important thing. Yes, he has an array of attacking shots and he can be very aggressive, but when you look at his movements and technical game, he is absolutely sound.

“It’s the same thing with Joe Root, who is our best player.

“If Australia are going to hit you with the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland, you are going to need a solid technique to stand up to that – then you can add the flair shots.

“I’ve done a bit of coaching with Harry and he is someone who works extremely hard. I really think we’ve got a serious player for the next 10 to 15 years.”

Bell’s work with Brook came 18 months ago during their time together at Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash League.

Ian Bell celebrates
Bell won the urn on five separate occasions as a player (Philip Brown/Pool/PA)

It proved a tough trip for Brook, who scored only 44 runs in seven innings, but within months he was churning out big scores in the Pakistan Super League and on the cusp of a dominant season of county cricket that propelled him into the Test arena.

“His numbers weren’t stacking up that well at the time but I remember talking to Harry and telling him that I saw a player who wasn’t a million miles away from England,” Bell recalled.

“I knew he was closer to being a Test player than he maybe thought and that he just needed to put the numbers together.

“He went away to the PSL, did brilliantly, hit the ground running when he came back to Yorkshire and he’s never looked back.”

If Brook comes close to the impact Bell had in 2013, England would be more than satisfied. Now 41 and working as a batting coach with Derbyshire, Bell talks fondly of his series-long hot streak against the Baggy Greens.

“I look back and think myself lucky to have won five Ashes out of seven, that’s a nice record to have, but to say you’ve won the Miller-Compton medal and been player of the series is just perfect,” he said.

“It all just came together but to have scored my hundreds when we were winning games is the best part. It was a great time and a dream come true as a kid growing up watching England take on Australia.”