Every so often, in life, you do things you’d much rather not for the greater good.

Like not handing back your pint when the clueless round-buyer unwittingly gets you a lager. Or pretending not to notice baked beans have been put in the chilli in place of their kidney counterparts (Hello Mum. Love you! X). Or putting up with horrible, horrible dance music when you’re a passenger in someone else’s car.

Earlier today brought about such an example.

Despite being outrageously talented, one of the finest batsmen of his generation and most probably a really nice chap as well, I’ve never had the time of day for Ian Bell. All the ability in the world, yet no ticker, guts, cojones etc when the going gets tough, which usually means on any turning track or against opposition in the sub continent.

The ‘atters used to have such a player. Jean Louis Valois. A magician from across The Channel. He had opposition defenders in his pocket, a wonderful ability to ghost past players, put crosses on to the head of Big Stevie Howard and a shot like Napoleon’s best Carabinier. He also had the propensity to go missing when it got a bit physical. Especially on a cold Tuesday in the dark North West or on other such challenging weather and well ‘ard full back based situations. For all his shortcomings, I still loved him.

I don’t think I’ll ever love Ian Bell.

But at 8-3 and the slightest threat (or ruddy great big threat, if you’re a natural worrier like me) to England wrapping up a potentially series deciding win in Kolkata with Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott & Kevin Pietersen all out, I R Bell stepped up to the plate and, making short work of a potential banana skin, deployed all the aforementioned class to see his team home, quite comfortably in the end, by seven wickets. Cue delirium among the travelling faithful.

Today England sealed a memorable victory on one of cricket’s greatest stages. It had been a long time coming. Cook (outstanding), Trott, Steve Finn, James Anderson and Graeme Swann helped set this up, yet it was the much maligned (by me and a few others within Eden Gardens anyway) Bell who took us home.

Respect to you sir. Grudgingly or otherwise.

Now go and do it again in Nagpur. Please.

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