Ian Bell: 'Happy to be playing after sickening blow'

I was fearing the worst but now I can help us win series
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The Independent Online

I am, as they say, over the moon to still be on this trip and still able to play. When that full-blooded pull from two yards hit me at short leg on Wednesday morning, I was half an inch away from a broken wrist and six weeks out of the game, maybe something worse.

I also feared the worst. A lump the size of an egg appeared immediately and I couldn't move my hand, which was a bit frightening. The doctor thought it was broken. Then I went for scans which showed there was no break or fracture, which was remarkable considering what happened. The blow was struck by the Kiwi opener Matthew Bell. So much for fraternal feelings among the Bell clan.

I have fielded at short leg for years and that was probably the nearest I have come to sustaining a serious injury. Sometimes you know you're in the firing line, but here it was in the 11th over of the match, there wasn't too much attacking cricket going on and I didn't think I was in any particular danger.

Then all of a sudden, bang. It was a bizarre feeling.

I got my hands up but I don't know whether I should have put them behind my back and let the ball hit my helmet. I guess it's a natural reaction to put your hands up to protect your head.

I still think it's a great position. If you're there it's usually because something's going on.

There was all sorts of treatment, icing it every hour, then getting it warm. You wouldn't believe how much it changed in 24 hours, and within 48 hours it was all but back to normal. I'm not going to get away without it being sore, but batting is fine.

The doc and the physio have worked frantically, it's been a quite hectic amount of recovery, and if I have made a contribution to knocking the runs off, the medical staff will have to take a large part of the credit.

We got ourselves back into the game on the fourth day thanks to a brilliant effort from Ryan Sidebottom. Before that we had been under par as a bowling and batting unit.

Sidebottom has had a fine year since getting back into the team. He is testimony to the good that comes from spending time in county cricket, and maybe at last a different message is now being sent out vis-à-vis the way in which it is viewed. He has been a revelation – he has skill and control – and all because of the time he was learning in county cricket.

Whatever happens on the fifth day, the fact is we still didn't make any hundreds in the first innings. There have been some changes in the batting order; I have been at three different places in the past three series. I'll bat whereverthey want, of course, but maybe it is time to let things settle a bit.

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