Bell: England moving on from spat
Ian Bell is confident England will not be sidetracked by the continuing row over James Anderson's conduct, suggesting his altercation with India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja "got blown out of proportion".
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The row between Anderson and Jadeja during the first Investec Test at Trent Bridge is still casting a shadow as the series enters its fourth match at Old Trafford on Thursday.
The issue appeared to reach a conclusion last week when both players were cleared by independent International Cricket Council commissioner Gordon Lewis, Anderson having been charged with a level three offence of pushing and abusing Jadeja, who escaped a lesser charge.
But while England are happy to let the situation lie, India have repeatedly registered their dissatisfaction with Anderson's behaviour and would like to see further action.
Only the ICC chief executive Dave Richardson can now extend the process, by appealing Lewis' verdict, and an official statement from the governing body confirmed the Australian's ruling was under consideration ahead of Sunday's deadline.
But Bell has been surprised by the furore having occurred during a series that he believes has been low on antagonism.
"Apart from one incident there's been nothing on the field at all, less than in other series I've played," said Bell.
"It's a tough environment in the middle, there's always a bit and you hope it doesn't go past the line, but it's been played in a good spirit.
"Certainly a lot has been made of that issue. But like I said, from what I've been part of, there's been very little said apart from that one incident."
The issue certainly had no effect on Anderson's performance during England's series levelling win at the Ageas Bowl last week, the 32-year-old claiming match figures of seven for 77.
Having escaped a potential ban for his home Test, Anderson now has the opportunity to make India pay once again and Bell thinks he is primed to deliver.
"From Jimmy's point of view, and the players who were involved in it (the hearing), they'll do what they've done over the past couple of weeks, put that aside and concentrate on the cricket," he said.
"The way Jimmy handled everything, to get man of the match at Southampton with everything around the corner afterwards, was an incredible effort. I'm sure he'll do exactly the same here, as will all the players. I'm sure we're desperate to get everyone talking about the cricket and a good series, rather than one incident that maybe got blown out of proportion."
Bell is one of England's least confrontational figures, though he is no stranger to being on the sharp end of a few well-placed barbs.
He was ruthlessly targeted by Shane Warne during his maiden Ashes series in 2005, and memorably nicknamed the "Shermanator" after the American Pie character of the same name.
Bell admits that episode of 'mental disintegration' had an effect on him but would not have it any other way.
"We've all copped it, we've all said things, we've all received things along the way," he said.
"There's always a bit of banter when it's England-Australia and it should continue that way.
"Test cricket is a tough environment and sometimes you have to earn your respect. Certainly for me as a young player, I got taught a lesson by one of the best of all time (Warne).
"He noticed I was a young player, he put pressure on me to affect my performance and he did. I learned a massive lesson on how I needed to adapt to those situations.
"That's how it should be. You wouldn't want it to be easy out there."