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DBD: I just take each day as it comes

Thursday 6th August 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent and England Under-19 batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond hit the headlines for his brilliant 127 against the Australians but enjoys winding down from cricket by playing video games and watching Arsenal, as he tells Mark Pennell…

Despite consecutive County Championship hundreds in May and a glorious 92-ball century against the Australians in June at Canterbury, Daniel Bell-Drummond is discovering that opening the batting is something of a rollercoaster ride.

As he continues to evolve as player, the right-hander, who was awarded his county cap and turned 22 this week, is finding that ‘going in up top’ in county cricket is just about one of the hardest and most thankless tasks in the game.

“It is a tough job and the days just keep coming,” said Lewisham-born Bell-Drummond. “You can never take anything for granted and, if you get into a bad trot, you can never just assume ‘Right, I’ve been through the bad, now for the good’, because it could turn out to be another bad day. It’s all about keeping the belief.

“Regular high scores haven’t come as I’d wanted them to, but days like those up at Wantage Road keep you honest, keep you working hard. Opening can be tough and you need a slice of luck, but you’ve also got to give yourself the best chance to survive, and I’d like to think I’m doing that.”

Recalling his memorable innings against Michael Clarke’s tourists, Bell-Drummond said: “As an opener you can be too cautious sometimes. That isn’t necessarily to do with how quickly you’re scoring, more to do with your intent, your mindset.

"Some days you get out, but some days it clicks, like against the Australians. I just pray to God that I get more days like that.

“I never score run-a-ball tons in one-day cricket, let alone against the Australian Test attack. It was a special day. In terms of the opposition and calibre of bowling that has to be the best hundred of my career so far.

"There wasn’t a set plan in my mind about facing them; I just got a feel for each as I went along. I had a slight advantage, maybe, in that the Aussies hadn’t seen me bat and didn’t know my scoring areas.

“Peter Siddle bowled very nicely, he just tries to wear you down with his patience. Ryan Harris was slightly quicker and skidded on, but I was able to get my drives away when he over-pitched and, as for Mitchell Johnson, well, that’s more about survival.

“I ramped up the bowling machine in preparation for facing him, because guys that quick are few and far between these days. I’d faced a couple of spells from Tymal Mills – who is now at Sussex – and they were maybe up there on a par with Johnson in terms of speed, but Johnson has the skills to go with the extreme pace.

“Preparation is the key, but nothing compares to the game scenario. Some days you’ll get it wrong and get hit or get out. All you can do is watch the ball, trust your instincts and hope it’s your day.”

Bell-Drummond added: “Cricket is an unforgiving sport, so I don’t get too down on myself if I don’t always score runs. I just take each day as it comes, and do what I can to relax and forget about it on my days off, because rest is pretty crucial.

“I haven’t got a season ticket, but I do love watching Arsenal at the Emirates and I really like Arsene Wenger’s change in philosophy.

"I’m glad the big signings like Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Petr Čech are now arriving. I can see Čech playing until his 40s and if he lasts four years he’ll prove a brilliant signing.

“When I can’t get to football I go up to London to chill with my brothers and sisters, because I live in Canterbury, house sharing with Ivan Thomas and Imran Qayyum.

"Ivan likes his TV documentaries, but I love the XBox and play FIFA 15 as Arsenal, of course. On previous versions I played myself up front with a high-rating and scored plenty, but I’m too old to bother now.

“I sometimes play FIFA Online against Dave Griffiths, Sam Billings, Rob Key and Joe Denly. The five of us are quite good, so we have little tournaments. I think I’m the best, but ‘Bilbo’ rates himself very highly too.”