Ian Bell Tolls For Thee

I wanted to write a post about the engima that is Ian Bell, the almost-double centurion against South Africa, but I see that Alex Massie has beaten me to it. He’s right when he notes that Bell cops far more criticism than is warranted (no one should be compared to the Shermanator), especially given the statistical background that puts him ahead of much of England’s batting line-up.

Still, Bell’s a difficult figure to root for or feel confident in. He’s more Manjrekar than Tendulkar; more Atapattu than Jayasuriya. That’s not to discount his enormous talent and classical flair (indeed, both Manjrekar and Atapattu were hugely accomplished). But Kevin Pietersen said it best when, watching Bell move quickly to 30 from 18 balls, he asked himself, “Am I batting with Ian Bell here?” He just never strikes me as the man who will turn the tables on his opponent, or rescue his team from a sore spot. Perhaps this is just perception or bias, like the way I feel about Wasim Jaffer or Simon Katich. For now, however, I’m satisfied. If only Paul Collingwood would get out of his funk, then all will be well with the English team.

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2 thoughts on “Ian Bell Tolls For Thee

  1. […] 13, 2008 by A P Webster All those English runs that were scored on Thursday and Friday will count for very little if South Africa manage to save the First Test. All the old clichés […]

  2. Jackie says:

    Wonderful innings. Bell rehearsed it at Warwickshire so it was not unexpected by his fans. As for Pietersen’s comment about the start of the innings, Bell has been batting at pace for a while. What he needed to do was to build concentration for a long haul. A different kind of innings to the brilliant dazzling display at Napier which was just brief and utterly beautiful. In his 110 he had 19 boundaries, two of which were sixes. Apparently he hit the first 99 balls which is regarded as something of a record. He was on song. Pure poetry. At Lords he was in epic mode and needed to shut down at times not to get distracted by his partner at the other end. Bell had to be his own man. The English media are very negative and always targetting him for some reason. They wanted him dropped because of a poor Series against NZ in England. So the pressure was on outside the game as well as inside the game. He has a reputation at Warwickshire of being a really nice guy. Maybe that is what irks the media.

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