Bell credits Cook for purple patch

England

England batsman Ian Bell has credited skipper Alastair Cook's influence, both on and off the field, for his resurgence in form, saying the captain's calm demeanour is what keeps the side together in tough situations.

England batsman Ian Bell has credited skipper Alastair Cook's influence, both on and off the field, for his resurgence in form, saying the captain's calm demeanour is what keeps the side together in tough situations.

Bell is the leading run-scorer in the Ashes, having recorded three centuries and two fifties in four matches, which was not imagined before the series as he had a poor tour to India by anyone's standards.

But Bell says his return to form, and match-winning contributions, can partly be attributed to Cook, especially his century in the second knock in the first Test in India.

Bell had been out in dismal fashion in the first innings, probably thinking about his wife, who was on the brink of giving birth back in England. He only came right in the final innings of the tour, scoring 116 not out.

Bell wrote on <i>Cricinfo</i>: "It would be hard to overstate how important Cook's influence has been in our dressing room and on my own batting.

"People may recall an innings I played in the Test in Ahmedabad. A brief but memorable innings. I came down the wicket to my first ball, my first ball of the series, and tried to hit the left-arm spin of Pragyan Ojha over the top. Instead I was caught at mid-off. It must have looked terrible.

"It was a period when I was confused and lacking in confidence. I had some stuff going on at home and I had lost confidence in my own defensive technique. My mind wasn't where it should have been.

"While the stroke may have looked confident, it was actually exactly the opposite. It was the shot of a man who had lost the confidence to trust himself to survive long enough to build an innings.

"I was trying to assert myself by playing that shot. I should have asserted myself by batting for several hours. Cook helped me get over that.

"The innings he played in the second innings of that game, a truly great innings in a desperate situation, showed what could be achieved if we gave ourselves a chance; if we battled through at the start, backed our defensive technique and wore the bowlers down.

"He reminded me what it meant to build a proper innings. His batting on that tour was some of the best I've seen in Test cricket.

"He has been just the same in the dressing room. Whatever the situation – and in any Ashes series, the dressing room can get pretty tense – he has exuded calm confidence.

"However tight the match situation, it has been great in there and Cook has to take much of the credit for that."

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