Ian Bell: Luckily the X-rays showed no fracture

View from the middle: Spinners always try to create a bit of mystery before a series talking about new deliveries

It was right at the end of my final practice session before the First Test that the ball came up off a length and hit me on the left wrist. Graham Gooch, England's batting coach, was using the side-arm – the piece of kit he uses to give us throw-downs in the nets – and, in the last minute of practice, I caught one.

I was confident I would be OK, but you can't take any chances, so Mark Weatherspoon, one of the team doctors, bandaged the wrist and then it was off to hospital with him and our physio Ben Langley to get it X-rayed.

Fortunately, the X-rays showed there had been no fracture, and under those circumstances, I'll always be willing to play in a Test match.

Since I broke a bone in my foot while fielding during a one-day international against Bangladesh in July 2010, I've had a good idea of what's serious and what isn't. Even after I was struck, I was able to move my hand and the pain didn't feel anything like as bad as it did in that Bangladesh game, so I was confident from the beginning that it wouldn't be serious.

While at the hospital, I had a chance to read an article about Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan off-spinner, and his new delivery, which they're calling the "teesra". We'd seen some footage of a recent one-day match against Sri Lanka, where the commentators picked up on a different ball he seemed to be bowling, and we've got to be aware of these things because we don't want to be surprised by them.

 



If he has developed another delivery, though, that's brilliant. Let's take it on. Let's look forward to that challenge, because if he's got three different deliveries and you still score runs against him, then what a plus that is for the team. He was the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket in 2011, and I've played against Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, so I know how good batsmen feel when they can look back at the end of a series and know they've scored runs against that class of bowler. That's the challenge for our batsmen in these three Tests.

What we can't do, though, is get caught up in wondering what delivery he's just bowled, because that way, you stop focusing on scoring runs. I'm sure all the close fielders will be shouting about it, and there is a lot that goes on before Test series where spinners try to create a bit of mystery by talking about new deliveries. Warne used to do it all the time.

It's also important that people remember this series for the cricket after the spot-fixing scandal at Lord's in August 2010. We all want to put a line under what happened and we've got a great opportunity to do that. We have a responsibility to play the game right. I'm sure we'll both play it hard and but make sure nothing crosses the line and that the headlines are about cricket.

We got to the top of the ICC Test rankings last year, but the hardest part is to stay there, and the challenge now is for us still to be here in a year's time. That's important. People are going to target us now and think their biggest Test series is the one against England, and that is going to be a bit different. There is so much more for us to achieve, and one of those things is to play better on the subcontinent and in subcontinental conditions, which is what we're likely to find during these three Tests in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

If we could win this Test series and follow it by winning in Sri Lanka and India later in the year, it would be one of our biggest achievements. Our Ashes win in Australia last year was one of the best things ever, but to win here and then on the subcontinent would be just as big. We're a lot more used to the style of cricket played in England, South Africa and Australia; we've honed our skills on quicker wickets, whereas in this series we'll play on slower, lower wickets, so it's a real test of our talents.

Apart from South Africa, Pakistan and England are probably the two form teams in Test cricket now, so the challenge is for us to keep our run going and I'm confident we're capable of doing it.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'