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Miles Jupp: Get some swagger Belly

January 22nd, 2009 by Miles Jupp in England and tagged , ,

Ian Bell has much to do in the Windies if he is to convince people that Owais Shah’s exclusion from the England side is justified.

On the face of it, there isn’t much missing from his game. He is technically brilliant, leaves the ball well, hits beautiful on-drives, works hard and is capable of electrifying fielding. In 45 Tests he has eight centuries, 19 fifties and a decent average of 41.27.

But there is still something he lacks. Some think he should develop Collingwood’s habit of ugly run-making. I don’t think that that’s the problem. What frustrates people about Bell is that he’s just not as good as he could be. What Bell needs is a swagger.

He’s played enough Tests to be considered a senior player but he still manages to look timid at the crease. You expect him to look to the player’s balcony and check with the captain if it would be OK to play a few shots. Even if he’s absolutely bursting for a slash I bet he waits till the end of a session just to avoid causing a fuss.

He has to let himself go in both senses. He bats a long way within himself but is capable of far more effrontery, such as the straight sixes he hit off Glenn McGrath during his torrid 2005 series.

Off the field he is a reserved man. He’s more of a blonde-highlights sort of a guy, than a peroxide streak. I’m not saying he needs to change the way he behaves all the time. It’s OK to have a nickname that is simply your own surname with a “y” at the end. He doesn’t need to start wearing diamond ear-studs or earning himself a moniker like “The Spankmeister” or “Lieutenant Fun-Time”. But I would love to see him be more full-blooded at the crease.

At this moment of presidential inaugurations, Bell should take inspiration from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speech: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” I think that most historians would be able to tell that what FDR meant: “You’ll do a lot better trying to drive the ball straight back over the bowler’s head than you will getting half-forward and prodding defensively”.

Going in at No.3 against this West Indies side is a great chance for Bell to start showing swagger. I’ve always wanted to see him just go out there and do what he can do. I’d love Bell to succeed but I worry that if he doesn’t start showing swagger now, he’ll soon be out of favour. And it’s hard to show swagger if he’s carrying drinks.

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan

Posted in England | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Miles Jupp: Get some swagger Belly”

  1.   King Cricket says:

    Not the mannered, affected swagger he sometimes adopts though. With his chest puffed out and his jaw firm, it’s transparently false and cringeworthy.

  2.   M-Shyne says:

    I think hes had enough chances. It’s time to give Shah a go.

  3.   Paddy Briggs says:

    Good article Miles. You catch the enigma of Bell well. He’s only 26 and there is no doubt at all about his natural gifts. Moores had no positive effect on his game and nor, suprisingly, did Flower. I suspect that Strauss, who has himself wrestled successfully with loss of form and who was similarly prematurely written off, may be able to help Belly. A firing Bell is one of the elements we need in the Ashes campaign.

  4.   Shutts66 says:

    Underperforming after nearly 50 Tests? Perhaps a certain Mr Gooch could give him a pep talk on how to change your career in midstride.
    Last year, when Bell returned to Warwickshire and belted that double hundred, I hoped that the selectors would say well done, but do it again and again. Instead they brought him back immediately. I hope that there are one or two parts of his batting on which someone is working with him. If not, nothing will change.
    He has all the shots and temperament against players of similar ability. What he needs is to show that he can cut it consistently with those of similar capability.
    By all means allow Shah the opportunity to cement a place in the side. But irrespective of which player holds down this place for thenext year or two, what we really need is ciompetition for places.
    Dare i say it, but where is our modern day David Steele? Perhaps it isn’t flowing cover drives that we need, but a hard determination just to stay there and accumulate. Or am I asking too much?

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