Today I imagined a future in which Ian Bell was dropped by England and had a couple of untidy, unfulfilling comebacks before retiring to county cricket and making mountains of runs, year after year.
If Bell plays in all of England's matches in 2009 (and let's face it...), by the time the first Ashes Test comes around he will have the same number of caps as Ramprakash - 52. Ramprakash's appearances were spread over a decade, Bell's over half that time. Ramprakash played during an era of loss and instability, Bell during the years of consistency and relative success. Sometimes, life really is all about timing.