Not that long ago, I put Ian Bell naked in a birdcage. Not literally, that would have been awkward for us both.
I did it in my book (free shipping).
I’ve never quite gotten Ian Bell. Aesthetically he is a pretty picture. Square jawed, cap always bent in a very good arc, dreamy eyes, and a cover drive that could test your sexuality.
The problem is, that was all he had.
There have been fewer batsmen I’ve ever seen who could put an innings together as bad as he does. Instead of building a base for a long stay, he seemed to just be out there because that is where he was. Like a kid out the front of a shopping centre.
Today he crafted an innings.
He could have done more, much more. But that he did anything at all was pretty impressive.
I keep being told that South Africa was the making of Ian Bell; he averaged 44 in that series.
I don’t know what made him, but he is different. There is a brain and planning behind that sexy little drive now.
His 76 today wasn’t from accidental crease occupation.
There could be a time soon when the Grisham of the 30 odds no longer makes those scores. He could just make real test innings like someone of his talent should. And not just against Bangladesh, but real places with test cricketers in their teams.
One day it could be a waste to over get him naked, lube him up and put him in the oversized birdcage, literally or otherwise.