Number 3: The Mistress I so Lament; So close, yet so far
Posted by Ian Bell, Thursday 20th August
“If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee? – With silence and tears” – Lord Byron
This prose, this stunning eloquent prose, an excerpt from Lord Byron’s incomparable ‘When We Two Parted’, seemed exceptionally apt as I rekindled my squalid affair with that most buxom of mistresses: the England no. 3 spot. Never has your humble narrator, I. R., ever scored a sacred three-figure tally. I lament.
“Butterflies in the stomach” would perhaps be the most gargantuan of underestimations: indeed; the nerves set upon like one thousand of God’s most beautiful butterflies, haunting my insides with their flaunting fluttering wings, tickling the inner most sanctum of my stomach.
I believe some of these vain monsters even bore the wicked face of that beast, MG Johnson.
So, no. 3, my most wicked of lovers, how should I greet thee? Indeed, it was with silence! It was with tears! A wicked silence to stun all those that bowl; no tears of salty water, these tears were filled with pure anger! Tears crammed with the wrath of I. R. Bell!
Needless to say, with Byron’s words a-ringing true around my ears, and with my eyes gently weeping, I knew this would be it: I. R. would tame this damned mistress of no. 3. Batting started as rocky as the rockiest boats in the most of rockiest seas, MG Johnson, the beast who be, snarling in with the most unsporting of intents: to knock the head off of this very I. R. Bell.
Plain sailing from there however, as 72 of the most sumptuous I. R. Bell runs were scored all round. If this form continues, Warne will be soon calling me the ‘scorerunsinator’, or something equally witty.
Let us not dwell on that most of futile of futile dismissals, all but my round cranium now knows is that the second innings will have to be the time I finally tame the mistress with a century. Bring it on.
Ian Ronald Bell MBE is an England Test cricketer, you can follow his twitter here. The fee from this column has been donated to charity.