Bell keen to end England hurt
7:59am Sunday 27th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Ian Bell knows it is time to take personal responsibility to end England's "hurt" against India.
Bell has mustered only 33 runs in three Test innings as England have conceded a 1-0 deficit in the five-match Investec series which has put Alastair Cook's captaincy in jeopardy this summer.
A sequence of 19 innings without a Test century also lags not that far behind Cook's barren run of 27 - all of which leaves Bell in no doubt that he urgently needs to start helping his captain.
"It's a very frustrating time, no doubt about it - there's a lot of guys hurting," said the 32-year-old four-time Ashes-winner.
"As a team, the last four games we have had windows to potentially win all four games, but we've just never taken those opportunities.
"We haven't backed them up so we've ended up putting ourselves under a lot of pressure, which is disappointing."
England's 'new era', after last winter's whitewash Ashes defeat, first began to hit significant trouble when they lost match and series against Sri Lanka in Leeds last month.
"At Headingley, we got in a great position - 311 for three, and then only got a 100 lead," added Bell.
"They are the moments you have to grab and absolutely bury teams.
"We haven't done that.
"Again at Lord's [on the way to a 95-run defeat], when they were 140 for seven, that was our opportunity to really hurt India and bat big.
"In last year's Ashes, we were winning those little periods - and at the moment, we aren't.
"We have to get back to doing that. We need to get back to being ruthless."
Bell remains optimistic nonetheless.
"There is another opportunity this week to go out and put it together," he said.
"I have found some strange ways to get out - even in the Sri Lanka series.
"(There are) no excuses, though - when you are in the top order your job is to score runs."
Cook, he insists, is bearing up in tough times.
"He doesn't give too much away to the group," said Bell.
"He maybe was hurting a lot inside, but you still see a guy round the dressing room who is full of confidence - and gives confidence to the guys, whether he has got runs or not.
"He is a proud guy; he loves captaining, he loves playing for England - we all want him to go out and do well."
It is incumbent on senior players such as Bell to start matching performance with reputation again - for Cook's sake, as well as their own.
"He is okay," Bell added of his captain.
"He is gutted - certainly about the way the Lord's game finished.
"But he is a tough guy, a tough cricketer...and he is fighting.
"He is desperate, but he's in a good mood this week.
"We've had a team meeting and he wants us to go out and be positive and take India on.
"We have some guys playing well and some who aren't - and I am one of them (who isn't).
"I would love to score some runs for Cookie."
:: Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. Visit investec.co.uk/cricket or follow us @InvestecCricket