Jason Roy: From bashes to the Ashes?


Jason Roy. One of the world’s greatest white-ball batsmen, and part of the most destructive opening partnership in world cricket. Can he convert it to red-ball success? Is he England’s answer?

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A young Jason Roy (ZIMBIO.COM)

Life has not always been easy for Jason Roy on a cricket field.

Having moved from South Africa aged ten, Roy always had ambitions in white and red ball cricket for England. To emulate the Mzansi footsteps of the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss was always a possibility. As a youngster he would progress through to reach the Surrey first team squad in his late teens.

Naturally talented, he averages 38.38 in first-class cricket, a respectable amount for a ‘white-ball specialist’ and will open, if selected, alongside Surrey teammate Rory Burns, a man needing to find his feet in an England shirt.

After having an explosive start to the 2019 Cricket World Cup, he picked up an unfortunate injury leaving James Vince to open alongside Jonny Bairstow. Subsequently, the form dropped, the swagger faded, and England were in trouble heading into the final two matches against India and New Zealand.

But with the return of Roy against Virat Kohli’s men, England steamrollered to a convincing victory, with Roy picking up 66. England returned to their rampancy, with Roy picking up 60 a few days later against New Zealand in an easy 119 run win. England are comfortably through, and return once again to face a buoyant Australia on Thursday at Edgbaston.

So Roy has proven his pivotal value in white ball cricket. Is it now time, with the position ajar, to select him for the red ball side?

It took time for him to settle internationally. Having made his T20 debut in 2014, he only entered his explosive and destructive ways a way after the disastrous 2015 World Cup. Eoin Morgan’s insistence on playing a natural aggressive game coincided with Roy’s development.

England v New Zealand - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 : News Photo

Photo: Getty Images

This could be used as an argument against his potential red ball status. The time he needed to settle, the way in which his form dipped in 2017, the sometimes lack of concentration, can all contribute to the anti-Roy agenda.

Arguably those who say this are correct. England need success now. It’s the Ashes of course, the most coveted and historical test series there is. But tried and tested is no longer a concept that England can empathise with and draw on.

With the retirement of Alastair Cook, the poor form of James Vince, and the countless claiming Excalibur who fail to usurp even the ex-skipper Strauss in partnering him, England now find themselves in a real pickle in replacing the two opening stalwarts which made everything England tick for so long.

Losing one of the two was bad enough, and that was in 2012. Now it’s 2019, and England need to find two to face the likes of Mitchell Starc this summer.

So why not give it a go? Who are the other options?

Keaton Jennings of Durham has been given countless chances and always failed to take them. Sadly his technique is nowhere near good enough to play test cricket for a long period of time. That one hundred in India was class though, fair play.

Haseeb Hameed was another on that tour of India who impressed, yet hasn’t since for county or country. Injuries have plagued the youngster but there is ample time yet for him to flourish in the white of England.

Sam Hain has been in cracking form for Warwickshire and has plenty of time to develop too, but is more of a middle-order batsman. The same goes for Dominic Sibley, who I’m sure will be in the reckoning having averaged 63 for Roy’s Surrey this season in the County Championship. He is just 23 years of age.

Roy’s technique and mindset are attributes which can both be adapted to the longer format. This is why he is the premier choice for selection. Known for the traditional ‘sixes and nines’ follow through, the likes of which junior cricket coaches only dream of, Roy’s destruction in the arc of vision is second to none in world cricket.

The only difference is there is less need for destruction. England need concentration. England need determination. And they could have that with Roy.

He has to be given time. But he can make the transition from bashes, to Ashes.


About Author

Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

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