sport

New dad Bell back in India

New dad Ian Bell has added an extra dimension to England's feelgood factor on his return to India after the birth of his first child.

Bell has flown back into a winning environment with a spring in his own step too as the proud father of Joseph William.

Since he left for England shortly before the conclusion of the first Test - he did not quite make it in time to see his son born - Bell's team-mates have famously fought back from that defeat in Ahmedabad to win in Mumbai and level the series 1-1.

The 30-year-old is therefore likely to fit back into the middle-order place filled by Jonny Bairstow at the Wankhede Stadium, with Alastair Cook's tourists eying a piece of history as the first from England to win a Test series here since 1984-85.

As for his own life-changing moment, Bell could not have wished for anything different.

"I have no regrets about going home - it was perfect," he said.

"It is nice to come back out here, but it is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

He did not quite catch his son's first moments, but then had extra time to make up for that with his wife Chantal too.

"I managed to get as far as Mumbai from Ahmedabad when the baby arrived.

"The way we planned it, I would have been there if everything had been on time.

"But he had other ideas, and couldn't wait!

"So it worked out well in that they both came home earlier, and I could spend more time with them."

There was less of a chance to watch England's victory on TV - but Bell kept in touch with events.

"I saw bits and pieces and watched the highlights," he said.

"I saw the key things - it was an unbelievable performance by the guys.

"To come from where we were in the first Test, the guys regrouped and improved. The way Monty (Panesar) bowled as well was fantastic."

Despite his absence - and a distance of 4,500 miles or so - he felt a connection to his team-mates in their hour of success.

"In a way, I still felt part of it," he said.

"Over the last four or five years, it has never been just 11 players who have won every Test match.

"Even looking back at the Ashes, we still had to have a squad.

"So you still feel part of each victory."

Bell hopes to be a part of the next one too, but will understand if England decide to stick with Bairstow instead.

"I feel ready, and refreshed in a way, and fully energised to go again," he said.

"If they want to stay with a winning team, I'll have to take that and keep working as hard as I can to fight my way back in the team.

"They could do - that's out of my control.

"If I get the nod, that's great."

Bell's place would be in significantly less doubt had he not made a first-ball duck in Ahmedabad, embarrassingly caught at deep mid-off as he tried to hit Pragyan Ojha out of the ground.

It is a moment he will probably never be allowed to forget, and one which may haunt plenty of others too.

He insists nonetheless that it will remain part of his game to try to dominate spin by using his feet.

"I've got off the mark a lot with that shot over the last few years," he added.

"It's a shot that is a big shot for me.

"My attempt was to be positive."

Bell will not stop trying to do that, but may be a little more choosy about the timing of his aggression.

"When it doesn't come off, it doesn't look particularly great," he said.

"But that's probably the first one I've hit straight up in the air in an England shirt - a lot of the time it goes where I want it to go.

"I'm not going to put that shot away, but I'll probably have to pick a better time to play it.

"I take full responsibility - it was a poor way to get out in that situation." "