Recovering Composure

Watching England build with composure and patience against a one-man attack yesterday was a reasonable way to spend the time. Especially if you're just starting to emerge from a hideous bout of flu which has rendered your Christmas a complete non-event.

But then, with Cook and Bell having made good runs you're left to ponder (those elsewhere who know me as a defender of Bell may be amused by this) whether you've been giving them too hard a time.

Cook yes, Bell no. Cook merely reminded one of his main quality, and that which sets him apart from almost every other young English batsman you can think of. Patience. With that, a shedload of runs under his belt in Test cricket already (and he's only just 25) and some necessary technical work under way he'll be around for a while yet. No wonder Boycott likes him.

Ian Bell was poised, stylish and engaging late in the day, all the things he tends not to be when the fur is really flying. But, while his unbeaten fifty will have reminded a few people that technique isn't really the problem, his temperament, which is, is highly unlikely to be tested again in this game.

Elsewhere the obvious was reaffirmed. Ntini is finished, but Morne Morkel has the capacity to do some serious damage worldwide over the next few years if he can continue to bowl with the persistence, pace and aggression which he showed yesterday.

Can he back it up, though? It's a problem Bell and Cook know all about.


Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

I'm pleased for Ian Bell, although I am a bit biased in my opinion as a Warwickshire man.

I have taken the mickey out of him a bit lately on my blog but always try and balance it out a bit, for example, with references back to his 72 at the Oval, which set up England's test and Ashes victory over Australia.

After all the Oval was just two tests ago, he never really got any credit for that innings, all the plaudits went to Broad (who didn't do a great deal before Headingley) and Flintoff, for his run out on the final day.

He has all the cricketing tools which is why the selectors stick with him, he is the textbook player in the England side, without any obvious technical weaknesses.

It's the top two inches that seems to let him down, he never looks convinced that he is in the right company (test level) to me.

I still would like too see him get some runs when England really have their backs against the wall. I think this is why people get on his back, only then will he start to win people around.

He is an interesting conundrum for the selectors though, they obviously want him to succeed as (like Cook) they have given him enough chances, it's just how long can you go on waiting.

Geoff Miller and co will feel vindicated now for sticking with them both as the lack of batting cover in the squad showed they both had the selectors full confidence.

Best Regards

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, Dean, I really value your detailed comments. I, too, am an unashamed admirer of Bell and tend to get annoyed when the criticism of him gets a bit too shrill (mainly from bloggers rather than the mainstream media).

The bottom line is that he's class, but the doubts will continue to surface (and rightly so) until he makes a ton under real pressure. That said, he went on really well today and might be in with a shout for the MoM award tomorrow if the wickets are spread around.

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