Ian Bell on Ashes 2013-14: All we want is to see Trotty back on a cricket field again with a smile on his face

My being on the BBC shortlist shows the impact of success in the Ashes

It has been an emotional few days. Not only did we make a hugely disappointing start to the Ashes series but we saw our friend and team-mate Jonathan Trott forced home with a stress-related illness.

I’ve known Trotty a long time. When we first met at Warwickshire more than a decade ago, we had our whole careers ahead of us. We were young, single and ambitious. Over the years, we’ve seen each other grow from single guys into married men with kids, we’ve seen each other develop from county players into England players and we’ve won County Championships together, Lord’s finals together and Ashes series together. We’ve enjoyed each other’s successes and mourned each other’s failures. We have, in many ways, grown up together.

So to see him struggle has been hard. He has been a key part of this England team for a long time and he is a player we have relied upon to provide match-defining innings in tough situations again and again. He has, so often, been the man who has set up our totals and seen off the bowlers at their freshest and the ball at its hardest. Of course we will miss a player like that.

But this isn’t about cricket. There’s much more to life than sport and all any of us hope for is to see Trotty back on the cricket pitch with a smile on his face again. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Warwickshire or England: all that matters is that he gets well and rediscovers the joy of playing. There’s no time frame, no expectation and no pressure. He just needs to get away from it for a while and come back when he feels ready.

They were a difficult couple of days for us in Brisbane. We let ourselves down as a batting unit, but I truly believe it has brought us closer as a group. We have had the opportunity to spend a few days in Alice Springs away from the glare of the media and we have talked through what happened and what we can learn from it. We have been made incredibly welcome in Alice and several of the younger guys have enjoyed some good time in the middle. We have regrouped, refocused and we feel ready for Adelaide. We have come back from bad starts before and we know we can do it again.

We didn’t give our bowlers a chance in Brisbane. They performed so well on the first day, but such effort takes a lot out of you in this heat and our failure in our first innings forced them back into action too quickly. We asked too much of them.

Trotty’s return home has invited the question whether I ever thought about turning my back on cricket in bad times, even if just for the briefest moment. I can honestly say I haven’t. I’ve wanted to be a cricketer since I was a boy and that hasn’t changed. There are times it has been hard and there have been times I couldn’t buy a run, but I have never wanted to stop.I suspect that everyone who has played cricket knows what it’s like to go through a patch of bad form. It’s part of the cycle of the game. I have, I think, toured for at least part of every winter since I was 16 and there are times when that is hard. But you work out ways to cope and these days we are well supported.

We have no complaints about anything that has happened on the field. We expect the Ashes to be played hard and we knew the Australians would come at us with everything they had. Quite right too. There has been nothing happening on the field that has not happened in previous series.

Australia played well in Brisbane, but that was no surprise. There was no shortage of respect between the sides and we have always known that Mitchell Johnson is a dangerous bowler. The pitch was quite quick, though not as quick as some have suggested, and we were not as calm as we should have been. We can do much better.

I have made it be known that I’m willing to bat at No 3 if required. In the end the decision is not up to me and I will be quite happy to stay at No 5 and do the job I’ve been doing for the last few years if the management think that’s best. But the last time I did bat at No 3 regularly was in the 2011 series against India, when my last innings was 235. I’m certainly a far better player than I was at the start of my career when I first had a go there.

Meanwhile it was a nice confidence boost to be named in the shortlist of 10 for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award. I don’t think I have much chance of winning – Andy Murray is also on the list – but it’s a reminder of the impact of success in an Ashes series. It continues to capture the imagination in a way that most series cannot. If ever we needed a reminder of how important our success is to people in England, we have had it. We’ll do our best not to let you down.

Read Ian Bell’s columns in full throughout the Ashes on ESPNcricinfo.com

 

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices