A lot of people hate Ian Bell – England supporters mostly. Given a choice between his playing crap and getting dropped or his playing well and averaging 55, a lot of people would choose the first option.
We’d choose the second. For all his flaws, 26 year-olds who can average 40 in Tests for England aren’t that common. Despite evidence to the contrary, we think he can push on and become a hardened Test batsman. We’d prefer him to do this from further down the order though.
We’ve no great love for Ian Bell. We’re not pro-Bell. We just think that if you’ve got an experienced Test batsman with a lot of years left in him, you should make the most of him.
But he is a bit irritating. His affected puffed-out chest strut is frankly embarrassing for one thing. He developed it because he decided he needed to have more presence at the crease, but it doesn’t work.
If Bell genuinely swaggered, that would be fine, but he said that this was a conscious ploy when he started doing it which entirely negates the exercise. It looks like what it is – a bluff.
Score a load of runs in tough situations and you’ll have presence whatever you do. Look at Shivnarine Chanderpaul. You can’t swagger when your manufacturer has attached all your joints the wrong way round.