Ian Bell: Crisis talks help us eradicate fear of failure
Sunday 17 February 2008
Back on course. And about time. It was an emphatic win in Auckland on Friday, and it needed to be. There was a lot of honest talking done after the second defeat in Hamilton, probably as honest as I've heard in an England dressing room.
Coach Peter Moores had his say straight after the game, and in the next practice session we had some serious self-scrutiny. We didn't do ourselves justice and we let ourselves and a lot of other people down with our performances in the first two matches. It was important we came out and put up a really good effort and generally we did.
While we deserved to be lambasted, we shouldn't forget how canny New Zealand are. They are very smart, a typical Kiwi side, streetwise and very good fighters. They have three world-class players, Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum, and are No 3 in the world for a reason. They know how to play their sort of cricket in New Zealand.
But the lads said that the way we were playing couldn't carry on. It was a look-in-the-mirror conversation, one to make sure we looked deep inside ourselves, asking if we were doing everything we could, knowing that every game we play now is building towards the 2009 Ashes. We have to keep going in the right direction, aiming to peak at the right time.
Guys got stuff off their chest, and what was on show in Auckland was the bona fide England. We have given ourselves an opportunity to get back in the series but every game is a final, so we can't look too far ahead.
I was pleased with my own contribution of 73. Of course, ideally I would love to have been 100 not out and to have won the game for us but I was certainly happy with the way I played, the shots I played and the manner in which I played my innings.
I understand what people are saying about me not going on but I know what I want to achieve in my career, I've got my own things I'm working on. I know which way I want to go. I'm not too worried about what other people think or what they want me to do. I know what I want to take out of my game. It is about scoring hundredsbut I also want to be part of an England team that's winning and I'd take that over hundreds.
The other major criticism has been over the run-outs we have suffered. Seven of our 24 wickets have been to run-outs. Not good, but I would stress that players everywhere are taking far more calculated risks now, more so than even three years ago. Australia have set the benchmark in this regard: steal as many runs as you can, put pressure on fielders. Every single run is important. Teams should have no fear of failure.
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