Ian Bell admits he is eyeing an England return and has targeted making Ashes history.
The Warwickshire captain is preparing for the start of the County Championship season with one eye on an international comeback.
Bell, who has 118 Test caps, has not played for his country since failing to score in the second Test against Pakistan in November 2015, just a few months after winning his fifth Ashes series.
Ian Bell has not played for England for two years (David Davies/PA )
England, under new captain Joe Root, face Australia in Brisbane in November in the first Test of the 2017-18 tour.
Sir Ian Botham and Wilfred Rhodes are the only other Englishmen to have played in five Ashes-winning series and Bell wants to top them if he can earn a recall.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win five Ashes, no one has ever won six so there’s always a carrot for me if I was lucky enough to get into that squad,” he told Press Association Sport.
Bell hopes to compete in the Ashes (David Davies/PA)
“There’s no doubt, on an individual level, to be part of a squad which wins six would be something pretty special.
“You always think about it. I still have ambitions to play for England. I enjoyed playing in the Big Bash which was as close to playing international cricket without playing for England.
“I have that drive to do it but winning games for Warwickshire and scoring runs is my main aim. If anything comes on top of that then great.”
Ian Bell (Philip Brown/Pool/PA)
Bell scored three centuries in the home 2013 Ashes series but then was part of the squad which slumped to a 5-0 series defeat Down Under just a few months later, when Bell’s Warwickshire team-mate Jonathan Trott left early with a stress-related condition.
And Bell conceded his 18 months away from the international scene – during which time he spent his first season as Warwickshire skipper – has helped him.
“Initially having been left out I didn’t know what to do going forward. Having a bit of time away from it I realise I really have missed it,” said the 34-year-old, who has scored 7,727 Test runs.
“I’d been on the road a long time and I look back on whether I should have taken a break after the Ashes and had six months away from it. I don’t know if that would have been the right move or not.
“I didn’t want to take an easy option, I wanted to fight my way through. I am very lucky, I’m playing at a great club, enjoying my cricket and we have a great team.
“I won’t be the only one with ambitions to get into that England team.”