Ian Bell wants to play one-day cricket

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In a parallel universe, players and fans care about one-day internationals – or, more accurately, one-day internationals are worth caring about. In this universe, we’ll have to muddle through, making the best of flukes and serendipity.

Kevin Pietersen retired from one-day internationals because on the morning of a game, he felt like most of us do when we have to go to work. Damn him if you want, but we don’t expect people to pay to watch us add conditional formatting to a spreadsheet. Cricket’s different. You want to see people who aren’t just going through the motions.

With Ashes wins and stacks of Test hundreds to his name, Ian Bell should be pretty fulfilled. He should be above one-day internationals, but he’s not. Because he’s always been crap at them, he feels rejected and undervalued, so he’s going to try and put that right. Good news for England and good news if you’re in a ground, struggling to suppress the feeling that you’re witnessing contractual obligations being fulfilled.

We’d prefer to see a Kevin Pietersen who gave a toss about one-day cricket, but there’s no such thing. As such, we’re slightly better off with an Ian Bell who’s keen to do well.

What happens when Bell’s proved his point is another matter – hopefully he’ll follow Pietersen’s lead. Maybe then the cricket world will start to comprehend that the ‘best’ players only warrant that adjective when they are fit and motivated to perform.


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  1. Try working with conditional formatting when some ass-clown in the office insists on using Open Office and therefore deleting it every time they modify the spreadsheet.

    Since everyone forgets the result five minutes after the game has finished, the only point in playing ODIs is to massage your individual averages.

    With people like Pietersen retiring and the limited amount of people playing all three formats for England, I guess Alec Stewart’s appearance record is safe for a while yet. I had hoped that Collingwood was going to get past him but sadly that wasn’t to be (three short!).

  2. On a separate note, although related to the extent we’re talking about forgettable formats of cricket – does anyone have any idea what’s happening in county cricket?

    I was trying (struggling but trying) to follow it when the 4 day stuff was on and now, just when i’d got to grips with it, it has buggered off and been replaced by, well, I’m not sure what.

  3. You know these parallel universes? Is there just one, or is there an uncountable infinity of them, like 70 or something?

    I only ask because if there’s only one, it would be a huge disappointment to find that the only thing that was different in it was a slight increase in the level of interest in ODIs. I’d be hoping more for enormous purple rabbits, or people who can hover, or something like that.

    1. What if you found a portal to a parallel universe? What if you could slide into a thousand different worlds — where it’s the same year, and you’re the same person, but everything else is different? And what if you can’t find your way home?

  4. The Quantum Leap conundrum is interesting from a cricketing perspective. You can leap within your lifetime into the body of someone about to do something daft and help stop them. Would you end up as yourself a lot? A cricketer? Kevin Pietersen?

    1. Sam Beckett leaps into the body of Herschelle Gibbs in Leeds, 13 June 1999. He’s fielding at midwicket, Lance Klusener is coming in to bowl at Steve Waugh.

      Oh boy.

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