Bell: Cook has learned from his mistakes

England

England batsman Ian Bell has joined the chorus singing Alastair Cook's praises as captain, saying the Essex man learned a lot from the tour to Australia and that the team was now truly under his influence.

England batsman Ian Bell has joined the chorus singing Alastair Cook's praises as captain, saying the Essex man learned a lot from the tour to Australia and that the team was now truly under his influence.

Bell felt that when they went to Australia, and lost all but one game on tour, Cook still felt unsure of his role and in Andrew Strauss' shadow. But now he's found his feet, become stronger in his decisions, such as sacking Graham Gooch, and will be a 'great' skipper one day.

Bell told <i>The Times</i>: "I think he will have learnt a lot from Australia. That could be a great thing for him. At the time you think it's the worst thing ever but hopefully he'll have learnt about himself but also the direction he wants the team to go in.

"There's no doubt the team at that point probably still felt a bit like Straussy's side, I think now this is a real line in the sand that he can say 'this is my team'.

"A lot of the time as a player you learn a lot more from your mistakes in a bad series than you do in a good series. This could be the start of him becoming a great captain for England.

"I'm sure over time he will be harder on the players. He's made some big decisions and that's a good sign. It's what people have been asking him to do. I'm sure we'll see more of that.

"He knows the way we want to be playing our cricket and we didn't see that in Australia and maybe that has given him the chance to see which way he wants to take the team."

Bell has become Cook's opening partner in ODIs in recent years, and feels that the top order will be well prepared when the World Cup in the Antipodes rolls round next year. He doesn't think people need to worry about their aggression.

He said: "I think we have to have two gameplans. In English conditions it will do a bit so we have to get the platform right, but that doesn't mean blocking it or leaving the ball.

"The same in Australia, it doesn't mean we have to slog. It means playing proper cricket shots with intent, scoring off lots of balls.

"It doesn't have to be like Chris Gayle, going 100 yards each time, but we can find out way. For us it's about a platform because we know our middle and lower order is powerful and can hurt any team in the world."

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