June 21, 2012

English cricket

Cook and Bell effective opening pair

Abhishek Mukherjee

Rob Smyth, writing in the Guardian, says that Alastair Cook and Ian Bell may well succeed as England's openers.

There had been concerns that, with Jonathan Trott at No.3, an opening partnership of Cook and Bell might mean a one-paced top order. Yet sport moves pretty fast and that perception might be outdated. Cook, whose resourcefulness and ability to surmount significant obstacles is little short of remarkable, has expanded his game enormously since becoming captain a year ago. At that point he had a strike rate of 71.38 and an average of 33.00; since then he has a strike rate of 91.59 and an average of 54.57. Those numbers would satisfy any opener – any batsman, in fact – in the history of one-day cricket.

Bell hasn't been helped by the fact that his role has rarely been defined. Being an opener should suit him the most – it is the place for the orthodox strokeplayer, who can penetrate the field during the Powerplays. Bell certainly has the capacity to be England's take on Mark Waugh or Sachin Tendulkar, not so much a pinch-hitter as a pinch-stroker.

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