The Joy of Bell and Morgan

13 01 2011

The Case For Bell

Leading up to yesterday’s game in Adelaide, there was a great deal of speculation regarding the worthiness of Ian Bell as a member of England’s 20/20 squad, let alone his eventual position as first choice opener. Bell, they said, was not explosive enough and his game was not suited to the shortest form of cricket in much the same way as people said Michael Vaughan’s wasn’t to ODI cricket. He is too classical, too correct and doesn’t hit the ball in the unusual areas that the best 20/20 players do.

Yesterday, however, Bell showed that these critics might as well have saved the effort of writing their words. He may only have got 27 and been dropped twice (although one was really little more than a half chance) in his short 17 ball innings, yet some of the shots he played were breathtaking. Hitting Tait over cover before threading him through the covers twice in the first over, he then launched an audacious uppercut for six an over or two later that the modern master blaster, Virender Sehwag, would have been proud of.

In short, when you have a man in as golden a run of form as Bell and, especially when they have always been such a clean striker of the ball as the Warwickshire man, you would be crazy to leave them out.

Since Bell finally flowered into a genuine world class player towards the end of 2009, he has been one of the gems of England’s batting line up and as such should be a shoo in for the world cup squad. In our opinion we would slot him into the ODI line up in the place of Jonathan Trott. While harsh on Trott, Bell has less of a propensity to get bogged down and finds the boundary more often than his county colleague – something that on the slow and low pitches of the sub continent will be highly important.

Morgan Sparkles

For a man that has hardly hit a ball in anger on the tour so far, Eoin Morgan looked in tremendous touch last night. What always strikes us about the Middlesex player is his extraordinary ability to hit the gaps in the field, something that enables him to seemingly hit boundaries at will.

In the past people have equated Morgan to England’s nineties finisher, Neil Fairbrother, but if truth be told, Morgan is a far superior player. Fairbrother was an excellent manipulator of the ball and was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over but sometimes lacked the ability to hit the big shots and get the pressure relieving boundaries. Morgan on the other hand is just as likely to smash a pull into the second tier of the stand, as he did to Lee last night, as to nudge a hard run two out to wide cover.

Unusually though, for a man with such a track record as a finisher, he couldn’t take England over the line last night although once more he was the backbone of the innings. Moving forward, if Morgan is going to nail down Collingwood’s spot in the test line up, it is imperative that he maintains his reputation as the limited overs lynchpin over the next couple of months. If he continues batting as well as last night – then this should be a mere formality.

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