Ian Bell: Diary of a tourist

Journalists are saying English cricket is a joke. Wrong, but we have to hold our hands up
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The Independent Online


It's a proper day off, but there's "Spin with Fred" every Sunday, so the captain puts us through our paces on the bikes for an hour. Fred's microphoned up and it's fun, but gruelling.

I catch glimpses of the match between Australia and New Zealand. The pitch isn't great, a bit scrappy, and New Zealand drop a few catches, otherwise they should have won it. Mike Hussey wins the game for the Aussies again, like he did against us on Friday. He's been in form for a long time, and gained a lot of experience from county cricket. It's a finishing school for those guys, they learn to adapt their game to different conditions. Hussey's always there at the end.


We're back in the nets but it's not a long practice. The intensity is great. We're at Adelaide again, which is one of the most picturesque venues in Australia, like their version of Worcester. It's my favourite ground of the lot down here.

In the evening we go out for dinner. There's a whole group of us who were at the Academy together. My best mate on tour is Liam Plunkett after the tour of Pakistan and India last winter.


The one wicket we need against New Zealand is Jacob Oram, then we probably would have been chasing 100. On the pitches we've had in this one-day series, a lot of runs are coming from the late order, when the new ball's gone, and that's what Oram did. A lot of teams have been four down for not many.

We need to make sure we bat for 50 overs. One of the top order in each game needs to get a score. The guys are playing themselves in, getting a start but not going on to get a score. Getting bowled out for 120 is not the way to win in one-day cricket. Ed Joyce has come in with KP out, and it's good to see him get some runs.


Yesterday's game was a big one. If we'd have won that, we would have one foot in the final. I've had some good starts but I'm desperate to be the one to go out and get the runs. It's very much about the mental side of the game. You have to work on that, and walk out on to the field feeling positive.

With Fred as captain again, the limited-over games are more relaxed. There 's a different emphasis from Test cricket, but there is an intensity. For Fred a lot of thought has to go into the Tests, but in one-dayers it all happens so quickly that you have to think on your feet.


There are only three proper games left before the World Cup if we don't get into the final here. For me it's important to make sure that I go to the Caribbean in the best form. But Duncan Fletcher hauls me out of the nets. There's not too much practice the day before a game because he likes us to be fresh. He's a firm believer that you can try too hard.


I get a good start again, and I'm pleased with the way I play, but it would be nice to capitalise. I hit Andrew Symonds for six, then I get a bad ball and hit it well, but straight to the fielder. I feel very good out there, and at 70 for 2 after 15 overs we feel on. If we could have got to 20 overs, when the powerplays ended, with only three wickets down, we could have got to 250. But we lose wickets in the 19th and 20th overs. All out for 110. We have to hold our hands up. It's not good enough.


It's my turn to do the press conference, but it's not an easy time to do it. It is important to fulfil these duties, especially when you lose - it's easy to do when you've won. The Aussie journalists are saying that English cricket is a joke. It's funny, 16 months ago we won the Ashes. And Australia may be the No 1 side in the world but for the last four years we've beaten everyone else.