Ian Bell on the Ashes: We need to regain the momentum - and KP is just the man to do that

View From the Middle: As players we have to remain above the DRS problem and not let it distract us

If there was a subdued element to our celebrations after retaining the Ashes, it was because we know our job is not completed.

We set out to win the Ashes. Retaining them is great and doing so in 14 days – the quickest time by an England side for nearly 100 years – is even better. But we set out to win this series and win it well and we have two big games coming up. We will celebrate properly when the job is done.

We were in a slightly awkward situation at the end of the game. We didn't want to go over the top in our celebrations, but we did want to show our gratitude to all those supporters who had paid for tickets and waited in the rain for hours. So we signed autographs and spent time talking with them. I think we got the balance about right.

Australia played well at Old Trafford, but that really wasn't a surprise. We have always respected them and we knew this series was going to be a challenge. They won an important toss and Chris Rogers and Michael Clarke batted beautifully when the pitch was at its best. When we batted, the pitch was just starting to crack and it had deteriorated quite a lot by the last day. Ryan Harris is an outstanding bowler and he performed very well.

It sets up the next two games nicely. Momentum is a big thing in sport and, with another Ashes series to follow in Australia, the next two Tests are vital. We don't want to scrape to a win; we want to win decisively and go Down Under with momentum and confidence.

The biggest positive to come out of that match was the performance of Kevin Pietersen. I've known Kev a long time. I first played against him when he was an off-spinner for Cannock in the Birmingham League – he got me out when I tried to reverse-sweep him; something he never tires of reminding me about– and he had a trial at Warwickshire in 2000 after he was recommended by the TV presenter Nick Owen.

At the time, Kev was a very aggressive batsman. The only thing that stuck in the mind was that he loved to give the ball a whack. He was confident and hit the ball hard, but I don't remember too much more than that.

It probably wasn't until 2005 that I realised he was a special player. He had played some great limited-overs innings, but he came into the Test side at pretty much the same time as me, he produced the goods under pressure against a great attack and he kept on playing the same way. His innings in the final Test at The Oval to ensure we won the Ashes that summer remains among the best I've seen.

Actually, he's played a fair few of the greatest innings I've seen. He is, without doubt, one of the best I've played with and one of those very rare batsmen who can change a game in two or three hours.

We're lucky in that we have another great batsman in the side in Alastair Cook. It's hard to compare them as their strengths are so different: Kev blasts it and has a technique that works for him, but Cook produced some of the best batting I've ever seen in India with his patience and his shot selection. Those skills maybe aren't quite as eye-catching as Kev's but they're just as important. We're lucky to have two such good, very different players in our side.

Kev is fantastic to bat with and we present a problem for bowlers. They can bowl us the same balls and he'll hit it for four on the leg side and I'll play it on the off side. He cuts; I pull. He flicks it; I drive it.

The records show I've put on more runs with him than any other player – 2,755 at an average of 56.22 each time – with nine century and seven half-century stands. He's very calm and good at pinpointing the areas the bowlers are going to target, and he's very good at working to build the partnership.

Whatever the issues were last year Kev has been fantastic on and off the pitch since. One of the nicest things about this summer has been the close-knit feel of the squad and we are all spending time together and enjoying each other's company and success.

I felt as fluent with the bat at Old Trafford as I have done all series. I feel great; pretty much as I did in 2011. But I'm trying not to focus on that; I'm trying to remain in the moment and keep doing the basic things well. That is what has brought me my success.

It's not long ago I was struggling a bit. I felt OK, but I was failing to go on and register decisive scores. When that happens you can become introspective and focus on your technique too closely. You end up chasing your tail.

So I know what it's like for my old friend Jonathan Trott right now. He has had one quiet Test really, and is just in that dip where he is having no luck at all. It is a horrible situation to be in as an individual, but I can guarantee that every single person in the team and the support staff has the fullest confidence in him. He's been an incredibly valuable player over a long time and he will bounce back.

Sadly, the series has been overshadowed a bit by the DRS issues. As players, we have a great deal of respect and sympathy for the on-field umpires. We understand what a tough job they have and that they, just like us, will make mistakes.

The problem comes when the TV umpire makes mistakes. Once you have access to the replays and all the technology, our expectation is that the decision will be right. That hasn't happened and has left us confused. Hot Spot just hasn't worked on a few occasions.

The meetings over what has gone wrong and what we can do about it have already started. As players we have to remain above that and not let it distract us. But it has created confusion and it is an issue that requires resolution.

To read Ian Bell's column in full, visit the world's leading cricket website espncricinfo.com

cricinfo cricinfo  

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'