Ian Bell's Diary of a Tourist: We mustn't be too hard on ourselves

You never know, we could be as good as the Australians in six or seven years' time
Click to follow
The Independent Online


Michael Vaughan is back in charge for the Commonwealth Bank one-day series against Australia and New Zealand, and so a new little period begins. He's a good leader and a quality one-day bat. His return is a massive boost.

There are some fresh faces here for the one-dayers, too, and they have given the squad a bit of a shake-up. We enjoyed a few drinks with the Australians after the Test series ended, but now we're trying to keep it a bit separate.

It's a completely new team. As soon as the Test series was over, we were straight into the new squad, and that's why Colly [Paul Collingwood] has been saying, "We want to have a bit of fun". It's been a long, hard Ashes series.


Ed Joyce bowls a delivery at Chris Read in the nets that he almost gets straight back on the head. After that bad ankle injury he picked up in his first game in England colours, the Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka last summer, he seems to be a bit injury-prone. He says nothing like that had ever happened to him before he joined up with the England squad. He is getting a little paranoid about it.


Twenty20 cricket always seems like a bit of fun, and it doesn't really matter. It is disappointing to go down like we did today in Sydney, but it doesn't mean a great deal. If someone scores 100 off 50 balls, that always makes the difference. The game really is as simple as that.

But Australia played us off the park again. It's been that kind of winter, with not a lot of time to have a breather and get a bit of perspective. There are no easy games of cricket out here.

Still, the SCG was jam-packed and it was a great occasion to be a part of. They were a crowd who really knew their cricket.


During the practice sessions we work on our gameplan. For instance, the batsmen work on their sweeping and reverse sweeping. If you see a gap in the field, you know you can play the reverse sweep into that area and score a single. That's what one-day internationals are all about, having a gameplan.


We all have one-on-one sessions with Vaughny and Duncan Fletcher. They last about half an hour and they're really good. They are clarifying how they see us within the context of the one-day game, and how each of us sees ourself. Things have definitely started to fall into place.

My own role is not particularly different from what it is in Test cricket. I want to be batting in the top three. We are a young squad, with the likes of Monty Panesar coming into the side, and we're getting a feel of how we want to play in the World Cup in the Caribbean in March.


Australia are a special one-day side, and they show us that in the first one-day international in Melbourne today. It's an incredible atmosphere in front of a massive crowd. We've got to enjoy every moment and learn from this. Four of us in the team are under the age of 24, and the experience is amazing.

The way Adam Gilchrist plays up front allows Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting to play themselves in. I know the feeling when you have a big cushion coming out to bat; it makes things a lot easier.

But we're a lot different to Australia. We don't have players who can smash it over the top, especially after the rib injury to Kevin Pietersen, but what we do have are good strokeplayers.

We've got to take a bit of rough to get through to the other end. But we mustn't be too hard on ourselves. I think that we shouldn't copy the Australians, but we can see how they are doing things and who knows, in six or seven years' time we could be as good as them.


Without Pietersen, things will still be pretty much the same. It doesn't increase the pressure on the side. KP's not our only one-day batter. What he can do is turn a game on its head. But we can still score the same amount of runs.

I think we could bat Paul Collingwood at No 4. And we've got to use the fact that Pietersen is not around as a good thing. We know we've got to perform. It will be nice to get away from the Australians for a change, playing New Zealand. But it's important that we don't take our foot off the pedal.