England can get back on top, says Ian Bell

Senior pro praises new head coach Moores and urges players to take more responsibility

For England, even after playing at the most northerly international ground in the world, the only way is up. The routine victory against Scotland in Aberdeen was merely an adroit exercise in the avoidance of banana skins.

Welcome it might have been, but nobody will recall it as anything other than the surmounting of the first obstacle on the long road to redemption and recovery. Had England somehow contrived to lose on Friday – and after the kind of winter they had managed, anything was possible – it would have only made the task more fraught.

The real business of the summer is now almost upon us. Sri Lanka arrived in the country as England were dealing with Scotland in unfeasibly wet conditions at Mannofield. Their first match is on Tuesday in Chelmsford, their first international, a wildly pointless one-off Twenty20, at The Oval a week later.

That T20 match aside, against a team who are the world champions let it not be forgotten, England should start as heavy favourites in their own conditions against Sri Lanka in May and June. Five one-day internationals, reasonably significant precursors to the World Cup next year, will precede two Test matches. India, later on, should provide a slightly more exacting task, but with similar observations about their ability away from the sub-continent. What is needed, nay yearned for, from England is a change in attitude as well as results.

The feeling from within the camp is that one may lead to another. The players seem prepared to take more responsibility for their own actions, something that recently had perhaps been allowed to drift out in the middle when it mattered. All eyes, then, will be on the returning new head coach, Peter Moores.

Always approachable, invariably enthusiastic, steeped in the game, Moores became bogged down in the technical paraphernalia of coaching in his first coming as England coach, which ended in tears early in 2009. It was as if occasionally he could not allow himself or his players to trust their instincts.

Things, Ian Bell seems sure, will be different this time. Bell was a junior international when Moores was first trying to earn his credentials at the highest level, but these days he is a gnarled old pro with a wonderful body of work behind him who retains his hunger and his passion.

“I’m sure he’s learnt a lot in the five years he’s been with Lancashire,” Bell said. “He’s a very good coach with lots of qualities and I’m sure he’s learnt from mistakes he’s made, I know he’s said that. It’s good that he’s got another opportunity.

“Now I think he’s got that experience of probably understanding international cricket a bit more. He’s a good man. Maybe he will go away a bit from looking at stats all the time and give a bit more responsibility to us. It’s important for us to make decisions. Looking back, you can’t blame the coaches for what happened in the winter. We should have taken responsibility and we didn’t do that and hopefully he will now give us the chance to make amends.”

As that demonstrated, England’s players are saying all the right things, but doing them is quite another. One win against Scotland in a 50- over match reduced to 20 does not amount to much, but it was clear from what Bell said that the training camp last week involved much more input from the players. Bell has no official position, but is in effect senior lieutenant to the captaincy of Alastair Cook. “The Ashes are not that far away so it would be nice to turn it round quickly, but having been involved in ’06-’07 I think it is possible to turn things round and I believe we can do it again,” he said.

“I’ve been involved in county cricket for the last month and there are some really good cricketers out there. It will be exciting for all cricket fans to watch this new team come together. Yes, it will take a little bit of time, but in English conditions I’d back us to beat anyone in the world.” Starting with Sri Lanka next week.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent