Ian Bell feels India hard to beat despite injuries

Ian Bell feels inexperienced cricketers in the Indian team would be desperate to take wickets and score runs to cement their place in the team Getty Images

By Ashish shukla

Southampton: Sep 5, 2011

India may have lost two more key players in Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma due to injuries but England batsman Ian Bell feels the visitor still pose a threat to them in the second one dayer on Tuesday.

Tendulkar was today ruled out of the five-match series due to a recurrent toe injury while Sharma broke his index finger during the first ODI.

“Whether, it’s a young side or experienced, one thing we know about Indian cricketers is that they have a lot of ability and lot of talent and it should be a good game regardless of their injuries,” Bell, a magnificent batsman himself, said on the eve of the match.

“If the entire team is fit, it’s very hard to break into a fit (Indian) team, so I guess guys would be desperate to take wickets and desperate to score runs,” said Bell.

It will be Bell’s 100th one-day international match and the absence of Kevin Pietersen has allowed him to move from number six to number four position a development the Warwickshire batsman is clearly relishing.

“I would like to bat in any one of the top four positions. There you can build your innings and go through and that probably is my strength. At number six, a majority of time you have 15 overs to go and you are looking to score boundary from the ball one.

“I am not the guy who can send a ball few rows back. I like to hit it over extra cover. I desperately want to give it a good go,” he said.

Like in one-dayers, Bell was also afforded a chance to bat at number three in Tests after Jonathan Trott was injured in the second Test at Edgbaston last month.

“When I first batted at number three for England, I wasn’t as good as I am now. I want to show Andy Flower, I can put my name there first in the team sheet.”

Bell admitted the make-up of his batting is not to slog but modern cricket is moving all the time and he needs to adapt quickly.

“I can try to slog. You have to practice, clearing your leg (for a big shot), and it’s a different cricketing shot altogether. But then Goochie has shown you could score without slogging.

“You could hit over midwicket and extra cover and I don’t have to try and become what I am not. I can play my shots and pick gaps like in Test cricket. The skills that have come in in the last 10 years are different than when we started.

“I want to improve as a cricket, add to my game. I have to learn to do it as the game is going forward all the time and you want to stay with it.”

Bell who scored a hundred against India the last time the two teams met here, said it was easier to get big scores at the top than low at the order.

“It’s easier to score 100s if I am batting up the order.

I am looking forward to bat through. At number six, a quickfire 50-60 would do. There, if (Eoin) Morgan is going well, you want to give him strike as he is one of the top one-day player.”

Bell revealed that coach Andy Flower’s instruction to the team is to score a single off every ball once the spinners come on to bowl.

“We try to score run a ball. Against spinner, you want to score off every single ball. It cuts down the dot balls in whole innings.”

The right-hander admitted it’s difficult to nail down the top position in one-day cricket than was the case in Tests.

“In Tests, our bowling attack is the best in the world.

But in one-dayers, it’s closer between a few teams. But if you have hunger and desire, there’s no reason why you can’t do it.

“We have new players who are exciting. We already have seen in Twenty20 that there are players who can bowl in the death overs. When we go to India, the reverse swing and slow balls become so important so that’s one area where we have already shown an improvement.

“We are also trying to be a better fielding side. We are hungry for improvement and success and if we don’t go away, we could be just as good in this format as in Test cricket.”

Bell believes the wicket at Rose Bowl would offer pace and bounce and give good value for shots.(PTI)