Ian Bell: Nappy time is on hold, now I want my own 'daddy hundred' in India

View From the Middle: Inspired by Kev and Cookie, I’ve adapted my mental approach to spin

What a difference two weeks makes. I am no better at changing nappies but I have returned to India a refreshed player. When I dashed home from Ahmedabad we were on the brink of defeat but, back with the boys here in Kolkata, the squad is buzzing from one of England's greatest Test victories.

I must admit that my mind is a lot clearer now, these last few weeks have given me a new perspective. I honestly believe that this awareness that there is more to life than cricket will only make my game stronger. For those first weeks of the tour, thoughts of the situation at home were always in the back of my mind, that is difficult to deal with when you are on the other side of the world. Now that Joseph and his mum are healthy and well, I am in a far better place. I cannot wait to get down to scoring runs, taking catches at short leg – to give Cookie a break from under the helmet – and winning Test matches.

Even though I wasn't part of the XI, I could not have been more proud watching the guys play the way they did in Mumbai. There were some really special performances, especially Monty's bowling and the way Kev and Cookie batted. I made a commitment to exist on Indian time while I was back home and Joseph certainly made it easier to be up before the crack of dawn to watch the boys and, of course, share baby duties.

I didn't catch every ball of Kevin's innings but I got the impression of a player totally calm in defence. Cookie showed us the way and Kev proved that if you can get a couple of hours at the crease under your belt, then batting here becomes much easier. We all know that when Kev gets himself set, there's no harder bloke to bowl at in world cricket. The fact that he went to make one of Goochie's "daddy hundreds" gave Monty and Swanny the chance to work their magic.

It was tough missing out in such a big victory but when I look back at our last Ashes tour to Australia, it wasn't just 11 players that won it for us. We had to rely on our whole squad, that's what you need in international cricket these days. Look at South Africa, they've had to use different players at different times but the strength of their squad helped them to a big series win in Australia yesterday.

I wrote in my last column about the need to focus on my defence. Inspired by Kev and Cookie, I've adapted my mental approach. I learnt the hard way that I can't expect to come in and be as comfortable as I normally am against slow bowling. The truth is that I am usually pretty set when the spinner comes on, that means I am seeing the ball well and can attack from a position of strength. The difference here is that you face a lot of spin at the start of your innings, making it a completely different game. You have got to get your feet moving straight away and be on top of your defence early.

It's now time to put my new approach into action. It has been really exciting to get back in the mix. The guys were two days behind me so I put that time to good use in solo gym sessions and caught up on some sleep before they arrived to disturb my peace. The boys showed a lot of courage and impressive maturity to bounce back in Mumbai. The important thing now is to do it again this week in Kolkata.

We all know how special winning a series in India would be but we cannot let ourselves get weighed down by history; thinking too far ahead clouds your judgement. If you don't play in the here and now, your game goes off the boil; unlike the crowds here in Kolkata. As a young player I heard war stories from Eden Gardens: burning newspapers in the stands; out of control fans; the city grinding to a halt. When I watched games at Eden Gardens on TV as a youngster, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to bat. I have been on a few trips to India now but, if I get the nod, this will be my first ever Test match here.

There's been lots of talk about the wicket. We're aware of Dhoni's wish for another rank turner but from what we have seen it looks a really good surface. But probably 80 per cent of the overs bowled in the last two Tests have been spin and I doubt there will be any change here.

What will change since that dismissal in Ahmedabad two weeks ago is my approach against the turning ball. I am back in Kolkata refreshed and ready to prove I can score runs for England on Indian pitches.

Suggested Topics
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice