England's Ian Bell admits naivety over India run out controversy

Ian Bell (left) talks to umpire Tim Robinson as Eoin Morgan watches on
Ian Bell (left) talks to fourth umpire Tim Robinson after his first dismissal as Eoin Morgan watches on

England centurion Ian Bell has admitted to being naive and "a bit stupid" in the incident in which he was run out, and later reinstated, in the second Test against India at Trent Bridge.

Bell walked off for tea believing an Eoin Morgan shot from the final ball before the interval had gone for four.

However, the ball had actually remained active and, as Bell headed for the pavilion, India removed the bails.

"I take some of the blame. To walk off was very naive, a bit stupid," he said.

Fielder Praveen Kumar incorrectly thought that Morgan's clip through the leg side had gone for four, however the ball failed to reach the boundary.

Kumar returned the ball and, with Bell at the other end of the pitch on his way off the ground, the bails were removed.

After a long discussion between on-field umpires Marais Erasmus, Asad Rauf and the third umpire Billy Bowden, the Warwickshire man was given out on 137.

Discussions between England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower and their India counterparts Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher during tea resulted in the appeal being withdrawn and Bell continuing his innings on the resumption of play.

And while admitting culpability, Bell, who was eventually caught at slip off Yuvraj Singh for 159, insisted the right decision was made.

"Looking back, it was probably a bit naive on my part to automatically walk off but the right decision has been made for the good of the game," he said.

"I put my bat down after the third run and it looked like we were just meandering off for tea.

"Turning around, the umpire took his jumper out and started to walk towards the bowler and it all just looked like it was going towards tea. We were both a bit shocked, we didn't really realise what had happened until we were halfway off.

"I didn't know until the last minute that I would be going back out again but the way it's been handled has been fantastic and in the spirit of the game.

"I've learned a lot of lessons. I won't ever do that again."

With many fans reacting angrily before the appeal was rescinded, the incident threatened to overshadow what was a superb day for England as they built a commanding 374-run second-innings lead and set a platform from which they will be favourites to establish a 2-0 lead in the series.

Bell's reprieve was praised by the England and Wales Cricket Board and International Cricket Council, with BBC Test Match Special summariser Phil Tufnell adding: "It's something like that that could just turn a whole series sour.

"I think after a cup of tea, the right decision was made."

Explaining his side's reasoning, India batsman Rahul Dravid revealed: "We didn't feel right after coming back at tea.

"It was lucky we had tea at that stage. Everyone was discussing the events and once we looked at it on television, we knew it didn't feel right and we wanted to try and correct that. There was unanimity over our decision."

Dravid added that India would have been within their rights not to withdraw their appeal, a view backed by former England captain Michael Vaughan.

"I'm just glad that it was sorted out at tea because it would have got very very nasty if that decision had been upheld," the TMS pundit said.

"As a captain I think I would have appealed just as Dhoni did - he had every right to appeal. But I also think I would have been talked around at tea time for the good of the game.

"I think Bell just had a dozy lapse, just as I probably would have done as a player."

And another TMS summariser, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, suggested that an incident that initially threatened to mar a series could instead be used as a positive for the sport.

"I have to congratulate Dhoni for what he did. Dhoni kept to the spirit of the game, and I think it's so important in this day and age to keep the right spirit," he said.

"There has been a fair bit of animosity, not just between these teams, and I think if there were more captains like Dhoni you could get back to the days of the phrase, 'It's just not cricket.' He's set an example for the other captains."

Listen to Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review of the day's play - including the Bell incident - on the TMS podcast

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