What could be better than Ian Bell’s 199?

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Ian Bell has never hit a Test double hundred - we know a man who hasIan Bell’s innings of 199 against South Africa was better than waking up on a Saturday thinking it’s a Monday and then realising the truth. It was better than hearing the phone ring and picking it up only to hear a dialling tone. It was even better than being asleep.

It had skill. It had determination. It had urgency when urgency was required. It had patience when patience was required. It had single-mindedness and it had beautiful, delicious remorselessness which we hadn’t even dreamed that Bell possessed.

So what could possibly be better than that? The obvious answer as to what could be better than an innings of 199 would be to say 200, but you’d be wrong. The correct, mathematically counter-intuitive answer would be an innings of 157.

For it isn’t just about the scoring or how the scoring’s done. It’s who’s doing the scoring. Rob Key hit 157 against Yorkshire this weekend.

He did everything that Ian Bell did, only he did it in Rob Key’s body, floating inches off the floor throughout and with the effortless indifference of a man who just doesn’t care, but who also cares quite a lot.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. And with Kent requiring just 140 to win from the final day, it’s fair to say Rob Key has single-handidly lead his team to victory.

    Good effort from Bell, but must try harder.

  2. Bell’s 199 was a delight – especially as it was more than KP’s derisory 152ish.

    But on the subject of King Pink Bob, I have stolen a snap from Sarah, Canterbury which clearly demonstrates The Keyster should be England Cap’n for he will confuse the Saffers who will think he must be one of their own, for he is large and red and multichinned and has clearly been feasting at PiesRus


  3. That would be impolite. The polite thing to do is to answer the phone and hope that there’s nobody there, allowing you to neatly sidestep the landmine that is ‘a conversation with another person’.

  4. Miriam! I’m so glad that other people do that too. I must always sound slightly disappointed when the person answers, because in my head I’m hoping it’ll go to voicemail.

  5. Euch, voicemail is surely even worse though; you’ve got to supply both sides of the conversation, meaning there’s not even half a chance it’ll be intelligible. I don’t think I’ve left a single voicemail message for someone that didn’t make me want to shoot myself.

  6. It seems that everyone who reads this blog is socially maladjusted/shy/hates all other people.

    It’s always nice to find others who share your interests…

  7. Seinfeld? Pah. I’ve tried watching it, but I just find it a bit too self-referentially up its own behind.

  8. I’m with Suave here (metaphorically speaking) as I have my sociable and lively moments!

    Must say am somewhat saddened to see my photo of his Pinkness abused in such a way – it’s not that Ms Masters has used it that I object to, but rather that she has done so to illustrate her misguided notion that there has been a return to his perceived former chunkiness. Harsh. Very harsh.

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