How would you describe Jason Roy, England’s latest hero and one of the masterminds behind their recent World Cup triumph?
Roy is definitely not your typical Englishman. He’s best summed up as follows: a batsman who walks to the crease with a swagger, marks the crease and then tries to dominate the bowlers from ball one. His cameos are usually nothing less than a dismantling of his counterparts.
Roy has the full repertoire of shots – pull shot, cover drive, straight drive – which he uses for the right deliveries.
Roy's approach clearly works for him. Since 2016 he has played a big part in England’s ODI supremacy (they have lost only two series in the last four years). And in recognition of his efforts, the opener was rewarded with an Ashes call-up this week.
First glimpse of Roy’s talent
The date was 18 March 2016, the teams England and South Africa and the place Mumbai, India. Batting first in the ICC T20 World Cup group match, South Africa scored 229-4 - which seemed like an insurmountable total. But Roy had other ideas.
He smashed the world-class bowling pair of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada to all parts of the ground. He was dismissed on 43 off 16 balls, with the score on 71-2 after 4.3 overs, but the damage had already been done. England cruised to victory.
The complete ODI player
The 29-year-old has scaled even greater heights since that day. He is now an indispensable batsman for England at the top of the order, and embodies their positive batting approach.
The stats prove Roy’s value to the side. Since January 2018, he has averaged 51.14 and scored six centuries. Overall, he averages 42.79 and has scored nine centuries.
The majority of Roy’s tons are big ones. His highest scores (from most runs to fewest) are: 180, 162 and 153.
Roy will set the Ashes arena on fire if he can emulate these mighty scores.
Early World Cup fireworks and hamstring injury
Roy scored 54 and 8 in the first two matches of the World Cup, against South Africa and Pakistan. The opener then smashed 153 runs (off 121 balls) against Bangladesh in a ruthless display of power hitting.
But Roy tore his hamstring against the West-Indies and, unfortunately, missed England’s next three matches.
England played poorly in Roy’s absence and suffered two consecutive defeats (against Sri Lanka and Australia). They looked set for a premature exit; the hosts had to win their last two group matches in order to reach the semi-finals.
Enter Jason Roy. The batsman returned to the team and scored half-centuries versus India and New Zealand. England won both matches comfortably, largely due to Roy, and stormed into the semi-finals.
Roy transformed England’s batting unit from a benign to a bold one. The hosts continued their remarkable resurgence with him in the side and won the World Cup final two weeks later.
Roy was arguably England’s World Cup hero. He scored 443 runs in the tournament (which included a century and four half-centuries).
Late Ashes bid
After his World Cup exploits, many cricket fans believed it was time for the South African-born batsman to be included in the Ashes squad. They pointed out his ability to take the match away from opposition.
The selectors had similar ideas, and picked Roy for the side. Roy's disregard for bowlers’ reputations could prove to be a valuable asset even in Tests. Whether it is Jasprit Bumrah, the No. 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world, or Colin de Grandhomme, a part-time medium-pacer, Roy’s mindset is the same: attack.
He has the ability to play shots all around the ground, and is equally comfortable off the front and back foot. This versatility makes Roy a very dangerous batsman. Australia would have to be spot-on with their line and length during the Ashes in order to keep him at bay.
Another reason why Roy can be a star Ashes player is his confidence. Every time he bats, he believes he can win the match for England.
All things considered, it is likely that Roy is set for a sensational Ashes debut.Published 27 Jul 2019, 02:51 IST