Taking a leaf out of Rahul's book

Ahmedabad: The England players are taking a leaf out of former India captain Rahul Dravid's book as far as playing spin bowling is concerned, ahead of the upcoming four-match Test series against India.

"We are going through videos to analyse how Rahul Dravid had played spin, used his feet against the spinners and utilised the depth of the crease to defend and attack," batsman Ian Bell said.

Bell will return to England for the birth of his first child and will miss the second Test, which begins on November 23. As someone who has played in all of England's last 34 Tests, generally with distinction, Bell feels he has built enough credit to automatically regain his place when he returns for the third Test in Calcutta.

"I'd like to think I'd come straight back in," Bell said. "Andy Flower has been so supportive of me going home from when I first had a chat with him about it in the summer.

""If we win the Test that I miss and something happens, I will have to fight like hell to get my place back. That's the risk you take.

"But attending the birth (of my child) is the most exciting part of my life and I am willing to do that as family comes first. I'd like to think I'd be able to come straight back into the team, and I hope we win the Test."

Bell admitted that the thought of going home had caused his mind to wander, but not when he was batting.

"There are some big things going on in the next couple of weeks for me, but I'm still desperate to score as many runs as possible for England," he said. "I'm very lucky. My wife Chantelle and family are very supportive and everything will be very much focused on here until the day I get home."

But, according to an English daily, Bell would probably also have been dropped for the poor run of form that has overcome him of late.

In the tour matches so far, he was unable to get a start until the second innings against Mumbai A, and only then because he was dropped off the first ball he faced, as he turned an off break round the corner to backward short-leg.

"It was a bit of luck, which I needed," said Bell. "There's no substitute for having time in the middle and I hope I can make the most of it in the next four-day game as well."

Bell had struggled badly against Pakistan's spinners in the United Arab Emirates eight months ago, when he made just 52 runs in six Test innings. "Obviously, the conditions are completely different to what we see and grow up with in England," said Bell. "The difficult thing in the middle order is starting, and trying to get through your first 20 or 30 deliveries. As soon as you can get in, it becomes a bit easier. That's the goal.

"After the hard series against Pakistan, I've worked as hard as I can on playing spin. You need a slightly different technique out here, maybe staying a little bit lower in your stance to get down on the ball.

"The importance of footwork here is also going to be massive. As Andy and Graham Gooch have stressed, if you're going to come forward, you go right forward, back, you go right back. In that Pakistan series, a lot of us got caught on the crease," he said.

Meanwhile, predicting that the series will be "closely-contested" one, England wicketkeeper Matt Prior said that the visiting batsmen will "wisely" employ the sweep shot to tame spinners.

"It depends on the batsmen and the bowler he is up against... If he feels that he is comfortable playing the sweep shot to negate spinners, then he may as well employ that. But, personally, I feel that it depends on the merit (length and trajectory) of the ball," Prior said.

"Any Test series in India is a challenge… More so, when you look back and see that the last time you won was 28 years back. We will draw back from our previous experiences of having played here and try to avoid committing same mistakes again," Prior added.

The England players were interacting with the media ahead of the third and final practice match, against Haryana, starting here on Thursday. The first Test begins from November 15.

To a question whether this team was better than the Andrew Flintoff-led side of 2006 or the 2008 side captained by Andrew Strauss, Prior said: "We have a much more experienced team this time around. The likes of (Kevin) Pietersen, (Ian) Bell, (Alastair) Cook, who have played here earlier, will help us immensely."

On missing Strauss' experience at the top of the order, he said: "Strauss is a class player… He's won a lot of games for us. He had a wealth of experience of how to operate against the spinners."

Prior also hoped that injured pacers Steve Finn and Stuart Broad would recover in time for the opening Test. "Broad's injury was a lesser concern while Finn's condition is being monitored," he informed.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »