Saturday, 22 August 2009

Elegy for Ronald

The gentle skies of autumn aren't quite here, but Ian Bell's international summer of batting has already come and gone: a seventy, a fifty, three failures; his last two knocks over and done on the first two days of the Test.

Bell has been a shadow-like presence, as insubstantial as he's sometimes good-looking. His 72 could yet be the highest individual score of the match, but even if it is, his contribution doesn't feel as though it carries that weight.

In a way he is emblematic of a series played out between two fragile, flaky teams who lurch capriciously between good and bad, and where luck has played a bigger than usual role. We still know no more about him now than we did at the start.

Perhaps that's the point. With Ian Ronald Bell, there might be nothing more to know. He is what he is, and England will take it or leave it. 

Win or lose, change is coming for England. Colly has almost exhausted the goodwill of his innings at Cardiff, KP will be fit again, Bopara is a natural number five, the side must be rebalanced without Flintoff. Ian Bell, the schoolboy who went to war, may not be back for a while.


Brit said...

Yet if Ronald has made an extra 28 runs he might have extended his Test career by just long enough to make another ton, which would extend it just long enough...

I wonder how much Shane Warne's endless and tedious 'Shermanator' schtick has contributed to Bell's fragility. Juvenile name-calling is of course what passes for wit in Australian sledging-circles, but he should have left that on the pitch, not taken it into the commentary box.

I'm ambivalent about Warne - yes he's brilliant and entertaining etc etc. But there's something of the school bully in the way he's so remorselessly gone after Bell and Bopara (and now Collingwood, with a ridiculous personal attack about him batting at 5 in the last Test). Aping Flintoff, he plays the good sport, but has no qualms about doing what he can to ruin careers. (My theory is that he secretly suffers from massive Pom Envy, and will one day be coaching England in an Ashes series.)

Rob said...

I wonder if he will get his central contract renewed. He shouldn't of course but then he should never have been picked for the Ashes either. Vaughan, Panasar and Harmison all have had central contracts this year with hardly a game between them. In comparison Bell has been hard worked...