Something From The Weekend: England's new ginger prince; Michael Ballack; Blazer's best

The Good, The Bad and The Odd


England's new ginger prince

For all the towers of runs built by Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott in recent months, the one England batsman approaching true greatness (being different, of course, from success), is Ian Bell. Since his 140 in Durban at Christmas 2009, when he finally shed his Mark Ramprakash tendencies, he has scored 1,372 runs at 91.46, while playing with the same classical beauty which won us all over in his fragile youth. Since the retirement this summer of Paul Scholes, Bell is the new ginger prince of English sport; echoing Scholes' distinctly un-English technical gifts, his aesthetic style, his humble nature, his rejection of celebrity. Bell's unbeaten 119 yesterday was charming but devoid of any ego or claim for itself; Scholes would have been proud.

The Bad

Michael Ballack

Never a man to be knowingly modest, Michael Ballack has rejected German coach Joachim Löw's generous offer of a goodbye game as insufficiently sincere. Löw had suggested a friendly against Brazil should be nominated as Ballack's farewell. The veteran's pride prevented him from saying yes. "To call a friendly match that was arranged long ago a farewell match is a farce in my opinion," he said. "I know I owe my fans this match but I cannot accept the offer." Maybe he has not recovered from seeing the German midfield succeed without him at last year's World Cup. Maybe he does not want to look his age in their presence. But his pique makes him look like a spoilt teenager complaining about an insufficiently expensive car as a 17th birthday present.

The Odd

Blazer's best

Chuck Blazer, a man whose look is usually called "avuncular", took it on himself yesterday to congratulate the world's fathers on Twitter. "Guys, enjoy it," he wrote. "This one's for you." A strange turn of phrase from a man who looks like someone doing an unkind impression of Charles Clarke. Blazer is a man of surprises: he turned on former Concacaf mentor Jack Warner last month, making corruption allegations against Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam, terminating the latter's challenge for the Fifa presidency. Until then Blazer had been a Fifa groupie, covering his website with pictures of himself at conventions. An unlikely football kingmaker, a strange well-wisher; normal service in the world of Chuck Blazer.

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
i100
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HE Dyslexia Tutor/Study Skills Tutor P/T

£21 - £22 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Randstad Education has been help...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently seeking dy...

IT & Business Studies Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT & Business Studies Teacher f...

IT Support Engineer (1st and 2nd Line) - London

£22000 - £24000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer (1st...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?