Posts Tagged ‘ian bell’
It’s lunchtime. I’ve just woken up. Loose Women is on. I feel disoriented. I’ve got jetlag and I haven’t travelled any further than the kitchen. I think I might be developing a bladder infection. I spent most of the early hours needing the toilet but never went because I was worried that I’d piss away all my energy and drop off. I’m too old for this shit. The problem with maintaining an constant nocturnal vigil is that when the cricket turns into a nightmare there’s no waking up. You might consider that I’m being melodramatic, but take a look at the photo below. See the puce distorted features of my nemesis Peter Siddle. I had to pinch myself during his hat-trick this morning. Not to check that I was still awake. But because it was a preferable sensation than watching his mangled ejaculatory gargoyle face.
I need to sleep now.
No stone has been left unturned by Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss in readying their team for Australia. Once they realised that turning stones had absolutely no effect on anything they set about looking at their actual players.
Five of the English top six bear the mental scars of a grotesque routing last time the squad went on an Ashes tour. The sixth, Jonathon Trott, seems capable of creating his own internal frailties. But the necessary preparations have been made by the management to limit the potential strife caused by these unhappy memories.
Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood have been sat in front a carefully-edited highlights package of the last series in Australia, featuring only the first innings at Adelaide. The hole in Alastair Cook‘s technique outside off-stump has been exposed by Australian bowlers previously. To counter this, Cook has spent a month with the top French cricketers in an academy just outside of Paris straightening out his batting. Ian Bell was subject to a vicious brand of intellectual torture during last series when Shane Warne remarked on his similarity to the Shermanator from the seminal American Pie films. To avoid a repeat of these comparisons, Bell appears to have dyed his hair a lovely deep chestnutty colour. Now he looks like a young Ken Barlow. And no-one can sledge that.
The 2005 victory was built on the concept that the bowlers would find success ‘hunting in packs’. The coaching staff have deemed that it would prove providential to foster the same mentality this time round. For this reason our preferred quartet have been taken from the bosom of the squad and transported to Queensland early to fend for themselves in the bush. They will survive only by foraging on berries and preying on baby koala.
Paul Harris bowling Ian Bell during the first innings of the test match just gone at Centurion was not the best thing I’ve ever seen on a cricket pitch. And I’ve seen a man run himself out because he thought the game was over. That was an American boy at my school actually.
Unfortunately sometimes when Bell gets out he really gets out. It’s the kind of You’ve Been Framed caper that has the unhappy effect of extinguishing memories of Bell’s more worthy achievements in the game. Like the very essential 72 he scored against the Australians at the Oval without which the pilfering of the Ashes would not have been possible. That was in the last test match before this one lest anyone had forgotten.
The main reason why the Bell detractors were polishing their spank-paddles was who was lumbering in at the other end when he shouldered arms. Paul Harris is a man famed for his inability to spin the majority of his deliveries. When I remind myself that Harris took five wickets in that innings and he is in fact in the Top 10 of the test bowler’s hit parade, it is impossible to do so without my inner voice sounding like a patronising uncle.
Who knows what thoughts were floating around the Bell brain when Harris bowled that delivery? It is entirely feasible that he was gazing up the wicket and pondering what actually Paul Harris is. He doesn’t look like a spinner. He doesn’t really look like a cricketer. More a strange fuzzy giant from a distant island. Maybe that’s his mystery.
If Ian Bell walked out to bat at the Oval with a long pair of ears whilst chowing down on a Caramel he wouldn’t be any more of a bunny than he already is. The saddest thing is that this parlous psychological state has not only been induced by Mitchell Johnson but every Australian he has ever encountered.
I’d suspect that if Dannii Minogue was brought on to bowl her slowish off-breaks, Bell would manufacture some way of getting out. If he ambled into a Walkabout he’d probably look a bit uncomfortable before leaving as quickly as he’d come in. And he can’t watch Neighbours without being intimidated by the gritty plotlines.
Which is why it seems to counter every cricketing intuition to promote Bell to no.3 in the batting order, arguably the pivot of the entire line-up. In a series decider against the Australians.
I wish they’d adopt a similar reverse meritocracy at my work. I’d be managing director by now.
The fact that Geoff Miller revealed that he is not ruling anyone out in his selection of the England squad for the final Ashes test at the Oval suggests that he has his ruler out and some general rulage will ensue. Which spells trouble for the encumbent eleven particularly the middle order and even more particularly Ravi Bopara who looks like he might be on the sharp end of Miller’s ruler.
I assuming that Miller’s announcement is a slight overstatement. I’m guessing that I’ve been ruled out for instance. Which leaves us a few candidates. The most obvious pick is Jonathon Trott, who made the last squad. The brilliant advantage of Trott is that he is South African and therefore not “flat and lazy” like most of his would-be team-mates. Justin Langer does know everything after all. And Trott is, by all accounts I’ve heard, something of a arrogant nob which is an excellent quality to possess to take on these Aussies.
Among the other names that Miller may be flicking through his Rolodex for is Robert Key. His is a cultish popularity unlike any other I can think of, largely based on the fact that he is quite tubby and smokes to stop himself sweating before he bats and seems like a thoroughly decent chap. But this season for Kent has been a microcosm of his test career: mainly underachieving apart from an anomalous double century against inferior opposition. But Shane Warne likes him and that counts for a lot apparently.
Mark Ramprakash is another cricketer who never managed to pin test cricket against a wall and tell it who was in charge. But he remains one of a small crew of England cricketers whose average against Australia is higher than his overall test figure: 42.40 no less. And he is on form. That is an understatement. He is on form, in form, around form, by form, through form. Mark Ramprakash is form. And if you can look Bruno Tonioli in the eye and survive to tell the tale then Mitchell Johnson should hold no fear.
I’m assuming that Trott will win over the sentimental lobby and get the call. Almost certainly in place of Bopara but I would prefer to see Ian Bell relegated again. Justin Langer thinks Bopara is a very good batsman. And Justin does know everything.
It feels like ages since we polished off the Aussies at Lords. A lot has happened since then. Mainly that Kevin Pietersen has gone and got himself fucked.
Now we have Ian Bell and he’s stepping in to Pietersen’s shoes at no.4. Which is a problem because Bell has pixie feet and those shoes clearly won’t fit him.
And he doesn’t go out with somebody from Liberty X. In fact I don’t think that there’s anyone from the current crop of popstrels that falls into his league. Joan Armatrading maybe. One of those twins from Bewitched possibly. Toyah Wilcox at a push.
And he’s shorter. And there isn’t an Ian Bell Zone on Cricinfo. And he won’t get up the Australians’ noses like Pietersen. He’ll do the exact opposite. He’ll come out of their noses.
Oh yes and he isn’t as good as KP.
To be fair there isn’t really anyone else. And he did bat at No.4 during 2005 series. Although he did average 17.10 over those five games. Bugger.
All this angst is probably moot. For Edgbaston at least. Because the outfield currently resembles a peat bog and that represents a danger to the players. Particularly Bell who is only tiny and might get sucked under the level of the grass.
So I am lending my full-hearted backing to the passionate indifference towards Ian Bell that has been led up in the higher strata of the blogosphere by King Cricket – truly a movement worth fighting for.