Sunday 27 March 2011

Can we now hear the end of how good Ian Bell is?

So England lived down to expectations in Colombo yesterday. Watching the Sri Lankan openers bat it struck me that they kept playing fairly straight, and largely played shots from the text-book. Contrast that with Andrew Strauss' awful innings. I actually thought 220+ was a decent return on that pitch - after all, the experts kept telling us how batting second was a poisoned chalice there. Oh dear.
What I really want to talk about today, though, is not England's overall failings - nobody seriously expected them to get close to winning the World Cup anyway - but to concentrate on one particular player, who I am fed up of hearing about.
Over the past few years we have heard how good Ian Bell is. There is no doubt that Bell has wonderful technique, employing the straightest of straight bats, and possessive of an exquisite cover-drive. But it's not enough is it? How many chances is Bell going to get? We kept hearing that he should be opening the batting in this one-day team, then we would see the best of him. Well yesterday he did open. And he got out in the exact same way again - giving catching practice to short mid-wicket. His record in international cricket is more favourable due to his luck in playing so many innings against Bangladesh, hence he has a very good Test average. When he has scored runs against other nations it has invariably been when England have been very much in the ascendancy (I accept that there are notable exceptions, but nowhere near enough of them).
During the ODI series in Australia (I think, actually, it might have been in the 20/20's) David Lloyd said at the end of the innings, and I quote, "Bell was batting like Bradman." Given that he was out for 30 I would beg to dispute Bumble's observation. I am sick of the fact that every pundit chooses to drool over the way Bell plays - the man does not get enough runs. When you consider how Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash were discarded you have to wonder why Bell is still playing Test Matches for England - he is incredibly fortunate to be playing in an era of a weaker Australia and West Indies and, as a result, a more successful England. I hope that now we have begun to see the end of the Bell "myth." Perhaps the promotion of Morgan and Bopara to the England middle-order can not come soon enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment