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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most