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Bell echoes Cook's optimism

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Ian Bell agrees with captain Alastair Cook that England’s limited-overs tour of India is a chance “to do something special”.

Cook yesterday said before departure that the tourists “can do something really special" and Bell echoed that.

Both helped England whitewash India in this summer’s npower Test series and, after others secured a Twenty20 victory, aided a 3-0 NatWest Series win.

Now they are set to face the 50-over world champions in five one-day internationals, having not won a series in India in any format since 1984-85.

The hosts are missing Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh, while England’s squad has a youthful look with the likes of Jonathan Bairstow, Scott Borthwick and Stuart Meaker.

Bell, who scored two centuries - one a double - in the npower Test series and a fifty in the ODIs that followed, told “It was nice to score some big runs against India this summer but out here is where you want to play some good cricket.

Ian Bell

Ian Bell told “We haven’t won a series out here for a long, long time and it’s a great opportunity to do something special."

“We haven’t won a series out here for a long, long time and it’s a great opportunity to do something special.

“We know the challenges ahead, we know how good India are and how good they are at home. So it’s an exciting opportunity for some young players to come here and show what they’ve got.”

Despite England’s NatWest Series triumph, Bell believes home advantage gives India the shortest odds in this rubber.

Having played in the epic World Cup tie at Bangalore in February, however, he knows England can compete in the sub-continent.

Bell recalled that game, when he and Andrew Strauss were on course to overhaul India’s imposing 338 before England collapsed but recovered to salvage a point.

“India will still be favourites, I would have thought, in their own conditions, but we’re here to improve and get better,” Bell said.

“We’re excited. The World Cup game we had was a great tie so it’s another great way to start the series. We’re looking forward to improving our cricket and competing really well out here.”

Bell’s departure for 69 from 71 balls in that match, miscuing to mid-off in the batting powerplay, ended a 170-run stand with Strauss when England needed an attainable 58 from 44 deliveries.

Bell, who played in England’s 5-0 one-day defeat last time they toured there in late 2008, knows the value of experience in India.

“This is a place you can come and learn a lot about cricket,” he added. “Just to come here and play in front of full houses, the passion they have for the game and you get some great players...

“So we’ll learn a lot and certainly the young players will as well, so we’re excited about what we’ve got to come.”

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