Ian Bell continues to take his toll

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2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

Turns out Ian Bell’s not retiring. You may have heard that he maybe possibly was. You may not. Either way, he isn’t.

The umming and ahhing does hint that his career is nearly at an end though. Soon enough, the bell will toll and watching Bell will no longer take its toll. We should probably embrace his pure, unadulterated Ian Bell-ness while we still have time.

Even earlier this summer, people were discussing whether a move to three might be the making of Ian Bell. That he is still widely considered unmade after 199 Test innings is quite something. There’s a certain art and majesty in continuing to maintain such a perception.

Always leave people wanting more, they say, and Ian Bell generally delivers in that regard. Quite how a 33-year-old veteran can still be thought of as having promise is one of the mysteries of the age. One day, many years from now, he’ll move his zimmer frame just so and onlookers will see it as an indication that he’s finally cracked this batting lark. At this point, Bell will drop dead. Always one step ahead of us, Bell; constantly finessing what might one day be revealed to be the greatest post-modern joke in the history of sport.

For now, all we can do is look on in wonder. Hopefully there will be at least one more dreamy, effortless innings cut short by an unexpected bout of seppuku. Rather than curse and wail at the moon in frustration like we usually do, maybe next time we can smile and say: “That Ian Bell – his ability to continue playing cricket like Ian Bell really is quite something.”


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  1. It always surprises how a player who has scored a mountain of runs, dragged a moribund England batting line-up through an entire Ashes series and is joint 3rd on England’s test centuries list is somehow deemed not to have achieved everything he may have.

    Maybe he could have done more with his talent. Maybe when he retires and a county player objectively not as good as him hits the scene we’ll come to accept that 5 Ashes wins, an MBE and Trent Bridge, Lord’s and Durham were all as good as anything could ever get.

  2. Don’t you touch a hair on that boy’s head. He’s mine.

    I’m going to miss finals day tomorrow due to being at a wedding. It’s not even the wedding, that’s today. It’s the day after the wedding. People are so inconsiderate.

    Come On You Bears.

  3. There are certain strands of your editorial line that are, in my view, quintessential King Cricket positions.

    One such is Rob Key adulation.

    Another is indifference to Ian bell.

    This posting seems to go beyond indifference. Has there been a change of editorial line on this fundamental matter?

    1. No, I saw that one at the time.

      I commented even, questioning whether there was a change of direction while recognising the equivocal nature of the situation described.

      Then we all started playing around with haikus, or was it clerihews? Ah, those were the days.

  4. Records/scorecards don’t contain pictures (or avatars).

    I think Ian Bell, I think dexterous late cut. I think late cut, I think Ian Bell. He’s the standard against which all others to come will be measured.

    That’s a legacy.

  5. I said Bell Epoch round here once, and I was quite proud of it. So I’ve said it again.

    I hate the word “quintessentially”, because in all of history the only word that ever follows it is “English”. Nothing is ever quintessentially Japanese, or quintessentially old, or quintessentially brown. So under no circumstances will I be tempted to use it here. But in some ways, Bell is representative of an aspect of English cricket that goes beyond its earthiness, fieriness, wateriness and airiness. He can be sublime, and then within minutes can seem to be useless. In the same innings he can remind you of both Sachin Tendulkar and Chris Martin. Every time you think he has developed into a truly world class player, he shows you why he should be dropped. And every time you feel he’s on borrowed time, he wins the match single-handedly.

    A player like Bell couldn’t play for anyone else. Ian Bell is Kwin Tessen Shally English.

    1. Oh come on, with that kind of form oscillation, he could play for Pakistan.

      Ian Ron-ul-Bell.

  6. There are only two English batsmen who have scored more international runs than Bell. Even going at the rate he was this summer he should get past Gooch soon. I’d just like him to get past KP too, preferably before Cook goes past both of them.

    Also, I don’t want him to retire because then I’ll have to pick a new favourite player, and Root’s too obvious a choice.

    1. That’s weird. We thoughts the exact opposite when you mulled going from Bell to Root.

    2. But Root’s just really good, isn’t he? And he’s going to be captain. Which…just…no.

      I want a Graeme Hick, a Mark Butcher. Someone who you know is good, but then averages 30-40 and keeps annoying you by getting out stupidly, then seems to have turned a corner, then gets rubbish again. Or maybe a take-no-prisoners Robin Smith / Trescothick type?

      Perhaps a love/hate thing with wee Jimmy Judas if he gets back in the side?

    3. Gary Ballance? You also get absolutely blinding occasional leg-spin as a nice bonus if you plump for him.

    4. “Absolutely blinding” because you’ve got your hands over your eyes at the time.

    5. Actually, Daneel, Moe Ali seems perfect for you. Such style! Such flair! Such an ability to chip a long-hop into the hands of long-on! And you get better-than-part-time-but-not-quite-full-time spin bowling (and a brilliant beard) as a bonus.

    6. Moeen to do a Hick in India 92 and top the batting and bowling (and fielding?) charts in the UAE?

  7. Entirely off-topic but have people seen this?


    “Michael Whitaker, 45, from West Bridgford, was leaving for work on Wednesday when he found someone lying in his unlocked Chevrolet Matiz.

    It turned out to be former Zimbabwean captain and current Nottinghamshire batsman Brendan Taylor, who had got lost after celebrating a victory.”

    On Tuesday the team won a match in the One-Day Cup in Nottingham.

    Mr Whitaker told the paper he called the police and waited nearby.

    He said: “Neither myself, the police or Brendan knew what to do.

    “I don’t think he knew where he was but he was very apologetic and it quickly became clear that it was very innocent.

    “Realising who it was made it even funnier because how often do you find an international cricket star asleep in your car?”

    Nottinghamshire Police said: “We attended the scene but the car had not been broken into and no offences had been committed.

    “The man in the car was extremely apologetic and even offered to get the car valeted.”

  8. I have seen it. It’s brilliant, but how the article is silent on how he got into the car.

    1. The clue is in the phrases “unlocked Chevrolet Matiz” and “it quickly became clear that it was very innocent.”

      I think that tells us that the owner had not locked the car.

      But more importantly, this one is surely the apotheosis of the Cricketer Spotted column in Cricket Badger.

      “Have you seen a cricketer doing something not all that significant? Maybe you’ve seen Paul Stirling picking up a free newspaper at Euston or James Taylor curled up asleep in the back of your little Suzuki Jimny.”

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