I was trying too hard - Bell
Ian Bell has admitted trying "a bit too hard" to prove himself in India after his heavily-criticised first-ball dismissal in the opening Test in Ahmedabad but insists he will not stop trying to attack spin bowlers in the future.
Bell lofted his first ball from Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, straight to Sachin Tendulkar at mid-off the delivery after Kevin Pietersen had been dismissed and it left England in tatters at 69 for 5 replying to India's 521 for 8 dec. He played more sensibly in the second innings, reaching 22 before being trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav, but his record in India now stands at an average of 18.36 from six Tests.
"Lately I have been trying a bit too hard to show everyone I can score in India," Bell said in his Independent newspaper column. "I need to relax and trust my defence and know that if I spend time at the crease it will happen. I still have a lot of confidence about playing in the subcontinent, I have scored runs against Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka but India is the one place that I have not scored big and I know that is missing from my batting CV.
"Maybe from previous tours to the subcontinent I was thinking to myself that I wanted to be positive and not sit back and be passive. I know I have to get the balance right. It was a bit adventurous for a first ball but if you look back over my last 30 to 40 Tests, you'll see the amount of times that I have got off and running against spinners like that. I am not going to put the shot away but I will reassess when I use it next time."
Bell is missing the second Test, in Mumbai, having flown home to be with his newly born son, Joseph, after learning he was a father while sat at the airport. Knowing that the birth was imminent made for a tricky build-up to the series for him.
"The first month in India was a weird time, I had things in the back of my mind but I was just trying to concentrate on my cricket," he said. "I didn't feel like I was in the best form, I wasn't batting as well as I would've liked. I don't know if that was down to everything going on, sometimes it just happens like that."
Bell now faces the situation of watching Jonny Bairstow have a chance in the No. 5 position as he spends a few days on nappy-changing duty before returning to India for the third Test in Kolkata. However, despite handing over his England place he does not have any regrets about the trip home.
"On the cricketing side it's a difficult decision to give someone an opportunity to take your place but I wanted to be here for my family and it is the best thing I have ever done and that will never change."