Ian Bell: Being home with baby Joe is amazing... but I want to make amends for 'that' shot
View From the Middle: Lately I have been trying a bit too hard to show everyone I can score in India
Thursday 22 November 2012
"What have I just done?" That was the first thing that went through my mind after my first-ball duck in Ahmedabad. I know it didn't look great but becoming a dad for the first time gives you a chance to reflect. I realise that I have got to trust my ability and back myself to defend and spend time at the crease.
The first month in India was a weird time, I had things in the back of my mind but I was just trying to concentrate on my cricket. I didn't feel like I was in the best form, I wasn't batting as well as I would've liked. I don't know if that was down to everything going on, sometimes it just happens like that.
I was disappointed in myself as a senior player but then, on the fourth day of the Test, Chantal called to say that she had gone into labour. I tried to get back as quickly as possible but just missed Joseph's birth. I actually found out I was a dad while waiting at Mumbai airport. I could hear Joseph on the other end of the line, which was an incredible and surreal moment.
Chantal has supported me so much through the good times and the bad. She always pushes me to put cricket first, so it was great for me to come back to England to help her. It's the best thing I have ever done, and the support I have had from Andy Flower and the team has really put me at ease. I've had a go at changing my first nappy, I'm not sure that's the best thing I've ever done but I got straight in there and had a go.
Which brings me back to "that" shot. Maybe from previous tours to the subcontinent I was thinking to myself that I wanted to be positive and not sit back and be passive. I know I have to get the balance right. It was a bit adventurous for a first ball but if you look back over my last 30 to 40 Tests, you'll see the amount of times that I have got off and running against spinners like that. I am not going to put the shot away but I will reassess when I use it next time. I was disappointed and I take full responsibility, it was a poor way to get out on a good wicket but it is a shot I have played with a lot of success throughout my career.
Lately I have been trying a bit too hard to show everyone I can score in India. I need to relax and trust my defence and know that if I spend time at the crease it will happen. I still have a lot of confidence about playing in the subcontinent, I have scored runs against Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka but India is the one place that I have not scored big and I know that is missing from my batting CV. That is the reason I am so keen to come back out to Kolkata fresh for the third Test and fill that gap.
I learnt from Cookie's [Alastair Cook's] innings that the crucial thing in these conditions is to control the tempo; maybe those of us who want to play aggressively have to rein it in and look for other scoring options. His was the best knock by any English batsman in the subcontinent that I've seen and it's the standard we all have to reach.
For now, I just want us to win this Test and get back into the series. I certainly won't be struggling to be up at 4am to watch the boys, not because of Joseph, touch wood, but because I'm staying on Indian time. And whether it's Eoin or Jonny who takes my place, I hope they score a hundred. Of course, I'll have mixed emotions when they come to the crease. On the cricketing side it's a difficult decision to give someone an opportunity to take your place but I wanted to be here for my family and it is the best thing I have ever done and that will never change.
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