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Frenemies Reunited

The Cook, the Cheat, His Life and Their Umpire

In which Belly tries to usurp the Australian way

Ian Bell celebrates his century, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2011

“Erm, to my country I do hereby pledge my troth by kissing this here thingy, or something”  •  Getty Images

Alan Tyers writes Even by their own high standards, our Australian friends have excelled themselves in their pet areas of hypocrisy and whining today after the Bell and Cook incidents. You expect a lot of rabid one-eyed rubbish from their Channel Nine commentators, but the fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground ought to know better. The booing of Alastair Cook was crazy – it’s hardly his fault that Phil Hughes tried to claim a non-catch. Performance of the day definitely went to Shane Warne for saying, “There is no way Hughes has claimed that” as the player leapt triumphantly into the air with his arms aloft. It bounced. They booed. Seems unfair, but whatever.
Ian Bell was, admittedly, a bit more of a grey area. But Bell is guileless, in the way that a glass of tap water is guileless, and if he says, “Erm, er, I sorta kinda, erm, well, obviously, I wasn’t sure if I hit it,” then we should trust his words, even if he doesn’t quite know what he is saying.
Jarrod Kimber writes According to Cook, Hughes said he wasn’t sure. That said, I’d trust Alan “Beefy” Tyers, who was probably cramped up in a dungeon of some archaic building, instead of the players involved. The bigger issue here is Ian Bell trying to steal the last bit of Australia. We get that the English team, by whatever fluke of nature, is better than Australia, but to steal our non-walking stance, that’s a low blow. There was a time when not walking was as Australian as Neighbours. Now it seems to be as English as Home and Away. This short of attack on Australianness sickens me. Ian Bell should be suspended, like Ricky Ponting was.
Alan replies It's a reflection on the decency of Alastair Cook - and that England are so far ahead they can afford to be magnanimous - that he would offer Hughes a face-saving opt-out. Hughes wasn't sure when he caught it (or rather, he was sure he hadn't caught it), but he went along with his team-mates and tried to pull a fast one. Anyway, it's academic now. As for Bell not walking and Australia complaining, I agree. Talk about stealing their schtick. The only way to top this is for Andrew Strauss to drink 53 beers on the flight home.
Jarrod replies Let’s not mention Cook. I spend all my time with Cook. I can’t get away from him. I know every detail of his face and nurdle off the pads. I’ve seen more of Cook than I’ve seen of my wife, family and friends. When I close my eyes I dream about Cook. And not even in a good way.