Ian Bell: Still in shock but practice will make perfect in long run
View from the Middle: I believe I'm good enough to play one-day and Twenty20 cricket for England
Wednesday 08 February 2012
After a series like this one, I want to get out to Sri Lanka as quickly as possible. Our first of two warm-up games starts on 15 March, but I'd like to have at least 10 days out there before that so I'm ready for the two-Test series that starts on 26 March.
I haven't been named in the one-day squad, so I was due to fly back to England today. But there is no point me sitting at home for long when it's snowing and freezing cold outside. I need to be in Sri Lanka playing and practising.
Physically, I don't feel as though I need a break. Some of the younger English players have been playing domestic cricket there and, if it's possible, I'd jump at the chance to do something similar. When you play on the subcontinent, it's vital to get used to the climate and the conditions. In Sri Lanka, I expect it to be hot and humid, so practising there would be far more useful than doing batting sessions in an indoor school.
What has happened in this series has been a bit of a shock. It has all come and gone very quickly and there hasn't been time to change things between Tests, as there is sometimes on other tours. Saeed Ajmal got me out four times in the series, meaning that people have been talking about the way I play spin, but I still believe I'm a very good player of slow bowling.
In the first Test, Ajmal got me out with a couple of decent deliveries that would have got most people out early in their innings. After that, I felt I was unlucky in Abu Dhabi when I blocked a ball and it rolled back on to the stumps. In the first innings in Dubai, I wouldn't have been stumped had Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal caught the ball cleanly instead of fumbling it back on to the stumps.
But I believe Ajmal is the best spinner in the world by a distance, and he deserved to be named man of the series. Nobody can bowl off-breaks and doosras at the pace he bowls them. What we need to worry about, though, is not playing Ajmal, but about building an innings on the subcontinent, and we need to get a lot better at that. We're all desperate to achieve it, and hopefully we can do so sooner rather than later.
We're all gutted, but we've all had these low moments before. I need to learn from my mistakes and try to improve again, and I'm desperate to do that, but I don't think I've got anything to prove to anyone any more. I've done a lot of the things I wanted to do for England, especially since I got back into the team during the 2009 Ashes. There's more I want to do, though, and I'm very hungry to do it.
I'd love to have a series on the subcontinent like the one I did against India in England last summer: scoring double-hundreds, big hundreds, and playing the kind of innings that shapes a game, as Azhar Ali did for Pakistan against us in the third Test in Dubai.
As keen as I am to get to Sri Lanka, there will be a bit of a break for me after I was left out of the one-day and Twenty20 squads. Andy Flower told me at the ground after the Test had ended that I'd been left out and, of course, I'm very disappointed.
I believe I'm good enough to play one-day and Twenty20 cricket for England. If I can get a position at the top of the order I think I can do a good job. I've been up and down the order, never really staying in a single position, and it's quite hard to nail something if you're constantly moving up and down.
They are going to have a look at some other players in these games, but I'm not out of the frame and there is no reason why I can't play for England in the 2015 World Cup. I've scored runs for Warwickshire in the past to force my way into the team, and I'm very confident I can do it again.
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