India in England 2011 July 18, 2011

Fletcher a 'massive plus' for India - Bell


Ian Bell believes Duncan Fletcher will be a "massive plus" for India in the upcoming Test series as he makes use of knowledge gained during his time with England, but insists the current team is very different from the one Fletcher coached for eight years.

Fletcher who will have an especially good knowledge of Bell and some of the other English batsmen, upon whom he really made his mark as a coach. Kevin Pietersen retains a very close friendship with Fletcher and the two have kept in contact in recent years especially when Pietersen has struggled for form.

"It's great for India, Duncan Fletcher knows English cricket very well and was very successful over here," Bell told ESPNcricinfo. "He knows Straussy well, he knows myself, he knows Kevin Pietersen. I'm sure we've changed as characters and matured since he's been away, but he'll have a good insight and there's no doubt that's a massive plus for India.

"But in world cricket now information, strengths and weakness, everyone knows about them. We have people working non-stop at Loughborough on stats, percentages and stuff like that. There's no hiding place anymore, so while it's an advantage for India to have him everyone has information about opposition."

Whether Fletcher has compiled a dossier on England's players remains to be seen, Bell is in no doubt about his strengths as a coach. "He's quite a quiet man and goes about his business in his own way," he said at an adidas event. "He'll know everything about what England have. In 2005 he was a massive part of the plans we had for the Australians - like going round the wicket to Adam Gilchrist - and he's got an unbelievable cricket brain. That's his massive strength. We know he's an incredible coach."

Bell, who made his Test debut in 2004, spent his formative years as an international cricketer under the guidance of Fletcher but is one of best examples of a player who will be very different to the one Fletcher remembers. He is averaging over 300 in Tests this year and is confident that a quiet one-day series against Sri Lanka, where he struggled to adapt to the No. 6 position, won't have burst his bubble.

"I don't think I've spent enough time at the crease to lose form," he said. "In one-day cricket I was doing a different role and to be honest I feel fresh and mentally read to go. I just want to pick up the form I've had for the last couple of years. I really do feel I'm a fully rounded Test cricketer and [I'm excited about] what the next five years hold. I'm desperate to keep improving and have the hunger to get better. We've got some massive goals we want to achieve over the next year as a team."

One of those major team goals is to overtake India as the No. 1 Test team in the world which can be achieved if they win the series by a margin of two Tests. However, the visitors will be strengthened by the return of Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir who were among players rested for the West Indies tour, though all three struggled against Somerset over the weekend. The batting order is full of big names, but Virender Sehwag will miss at least the first two Tests as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.

Zaheer, despite taking 0 for 72 against Somerset and looking short of match fitness after a lengthy lay-off, is expected to form a potent new-ball partnership with Ishant Sharma, while Harbhajan Singh will be the main spin option. Bell, though, insists England won't be overawed by the prospect of facing them.

"We respect them, but you can't over-respect them. You have to have the confidence that you can beat them," he said. "India are No. 1 in the world and you don't just do that by having six great batsmen, you do that by taking 20 wickets. They've got world-class bowlers, but that can also bring the best out of our team.

"Last time here Zaheer was incredible, and Harbhajan Singh has just hit 400 Test wickets so it's a massive challenge," he added. "When we played in the Ashes we raised our game and that's what we need to do in this series. It's two form teams going head-to-head and you can't ask for better than that. It's the No. 1 form of the game and as players we want to keep it that way."

Ian Bell will play in this summer's Test series against India with the adidas Incurza bat, designed for the more aggressive, forceful player. For stockists visit

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    @sony_sr Indian bowlers manage to bowl out the opposition because their opponents think that Indian are weak at dishing out and facing good pace on pace friendly tracks. This actually plays into Indian hands by allowing them to exploit their experienced batting line up while helping them cover up their bowling weakness. In every series, Indians have won on the fastest tracks prepared for them, be in Australia, south africa or West Indies or any where else. It would be great for India if England prepares tracks which aid pace and swing

  • JIGNESH on July 19, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    @ Jaydeep Gupta, Well said. Your comment(article) is exceptional. You forgot to mention Sehwag's 254 runs in Pakistan too where he killed all the bowlers hope to stay alive. Openers-Sehwag and Dravid were nearly breaking the world record of first wicket partnership.

  • V.L on July 19, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    @Ali_Eorse For your info this is a series between India and England not England and Pakistan- The mighty team that was bowled out for 100 4 times in 3 tests. India getting bowled out out for under 150 and England scoring 600+ are as likely as Pakistan beating India in a WC match before 2100AD.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Buphal_Pandey how did you reach the conclusion that the WI bowling attack is twice as good as the England bowling attack?

  • Bhupal on July 19, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    @ Rumy "Trying out inexperienced Mukund in easy climes of WI was fine. West Indies attack was as good as any good Ranji side. England is a top notch team." This has to be the most hilarious comment ever. Even if Indian could get one of Windies bench bowlers Taylor/Roach, they could be world beaters. Tremlett, Anderson et al are not even half as good as Taylor, Roach, Edwards, Rampaul. And Swann just about matches Bishoo in guile. This Windies bowling attack is right there at the top, along with Marshall and all. In fact, the poor performance of Windies team highlights how much team balance is important more than anything else. Bowlers may win you matches, but batsmen set them up. Please Windies, lend us Taylor and Roach, so that we could beat the hell out of England, at present without Sehwag that looks mighty difficult.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    @Ali_Eorse : I aGree with you that Sachin is an overrated player. For the amount of talent he has he should have score 150 centuries by now..and he is still on 99 centuries. But boy Am I glad this overrated player plays for India and not some other team. As for so called medicore Indian bowling...history shows how these bowlers have managed to win tests abroad and also taken 20 wicket on so called flat tracks.However its funny how green tracks will be called home advantage and fair play tactics if England make them. On other hand if India make their home advantage pitches (spin tracks) they are called unsporting tracks. However good thing is these green tracks will help Indian bowlers a great deal. @ Mustafa Jamal : Sehwag has centuries in Aus/SA/NZ/WI/SL/Pakistan since when did these countries become home for Sehwag or last when I checked these countries were still not part of India as yet so your argument that Sehwag is lion on home grounds is total fail statment.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    luck follows dhoni,india is going to rock,zaheer was out of form since ipl only,and praveen swings the ball too much for a batsman to get out in england condition,ishant has been on top,but is any1 talking abt arvind?he bowled better dan any indian fast bowler other than ishant,bt why is he nt picked up,mithun to me never sounded like a bowler wid grt potential,jaffer or karthick shud hav been included

  • PRAVEEN on July 19, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    India will win the series or it will be a draw no chance for England to win the series and move to the top of the ranking

  • Sreeram on July 19, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    @Ali_eorse: I think your comment is a big joke especially when you say Bell, Peterson and Strauss are underrated and Sachin and Dravid are overrated. Do yourself a favor, go through the records before commenting. Below a snapshot on the avgs. You can support a team but it is not good to sound stupid. Sachin VS Overall-56(177 matches), Aus-60.5, Eng-61, SA-42 & SL - 60 Dravid VS Overall-52(153 matches), Aus-41, Eng-57, SA-33, SL-48 Strauss VS Overall-42(85 matches), AUS-39, Ind-46,SA-43,SL-20 Bell VS Overall-47(65 matches), Aus-32,Ind-24,SA-46,SL-84 Pietersen VS Overall-48(74 matches), Aus-52,Ind-47,SA-42,SL-46

  • Sony on July 19, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    As usual Indian bowling lineup looks mediocre and nobody in their wildest dreams expect them to get 20 wickets. Eventhough they are below average on paper, somehow they manage to get teams out twice and that is why India is no1 team. I don't know how, may be dhonis captaincy. Lets hope that dhoni magic happens in this series as well as I don't think this bowling lineup is good enough to bowl eng twice.

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