England’s ‘frightening’ batting options mean the heat is always on – Jason Roy
Jason Roy is under no illusions about the growing queue of contenders for his role as England’s limited-overs opener and knows regular runs are the only guarantee of holding his shirt.
World Cup winner Roy is the man in possession across both white-ball formats, pairing up with Jonny Bairstow in one-day internationals and Jos Buttler in Twenty20s, but there are no shortage of alternatives coming through.
Ben Stokes recently had success facing up first for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and made it known he enjoyed the experience, while the world’s number one T20 batsman Dawid Malan also prefers to open. Tom Banton is another waiting in the wings and even all-rounder Sam Curran has had a chance with Chennai Super Kings.
Head coach Chris Silverwood has already indicated that Roy and Buttler will be kept together when England kick off their series against South Africa at Newlands on Friday, but consistent performances will be required to keep the pack at bay.
“It’s mad, the amount of batters is quite frightening,” said Roy.
“It’s a beautiful position for England to be in, to be spoilt for choice. You would 100 percent be lying if you said you were not under pressure for your place with the amount of talent that is around us. Everyone is getting pushed to their limits.
“I don’t think there’s ever an element of relaxing. No matter how much you play, who is coming through the ranks or what pressure you’re under, you’re always trying to learn and do your best. Whether there’s one or two pushing my place or 10 players pushing my place, those things won’t affect the way I approach my game. I have to do what I have to do to perform.
“I have got to do what I have got to do, right? I have got to get myself physically fit, mentally fit and then I’ve got to score some runs. It’s as simple as that.”
Keeping fresh in mind and body has not always been easy in this year, with long periods of inactivity in lockdown followed by a truncated but intense English summer dominated by life in the bio-secure bubble.
That persuaded Roy to forego his own IPL contract at Delhi Capitals in a bid to get back on track, a decision that feels has paid dividends.
“Physically and mentally I probably wasn’t where I wanted to be,” he said.
“That decision wasn’t taken lightly but, due to the amount of bubbles we’ve been in, what’s to come up and the uncertainty over what’s to come, it was the right decision. I’m feeling the benefits.
“The best thing is I’m really excited for my cricket. I’m excited for my training and excited to keep learning so it’s a good place for me mentally.”
Much of the excitement around the forthcoming series against the Proteas has centred around each side’s pace bowling attacks, with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood going up against Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.
Batsmen like Roy are sure to be on the receiving end of some lively stuff as the duos try to outdo each other and he is more than ready.
“I’ve put my hand up to face quite a lot of our bowlers at all the net sessions to get myself in a good place to play. You just know you need to switch on or you’ll leave with a few broken bones,” he said.
“That’s probably the best way to do it. You’ve got to make sure your training is on point and ready to face a bit of fire. The extra pace is always fun to play against. We play against a lot of teams with raw power and pace and it’ll be a good battle.”
Roy is a Tottenham fan and signed off with a nod to Dele Alli, who took a spectacular catch flicked off his boot during a recent cricket warm-up in the Spurs’ dressing room.
“That was huge. It was pretty special actually,” he said.
“But I wouldn’t recommend going that way with the hard ball.”
England seal series win over Sri Lanka on dramatic day in Galle
Spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess shared eight wickets between them before Dom Sibley and Jos Buttler guided the tourists home.
England in pole position for 2-0 series win after Jack Leach and Dom Bess strike
The tourists need 164 to secure victory.
England chasing 164 to beat Sri Lanka after Jack Leach and Dom Bess dominate
The hosts were dismissed for just 126 on the fourth afternoon.
Dom Bess and Jack Leach spin Sri Lanka into serious trouble in Galle
England are closing in on a series win.
Sri Lanka v England Day 3: England skipper Joe Root’s brilliant form continues
Root’s 186 helped England battle back against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Jos Buttler: Everyone can learn something from watching Joe Root play spin
England’s captain scored another Test century in Galle.
5 biggest Test knocks of England captain Joe Root’s career
Root’s superb showing in Galle moved him up to fourth in the list of his country’s highest Test run scorers.
Joe Root puts on another batting masterclass in Sri Lanka before late dismissal
The England captain departed having scored 186 of England’s 339 for nine in Galle.
England rely on Joe Root again as he defies Sri Lanka with another century
He hit an unbeaten 137 as England reached tea at 252 for six to trail their hosts by 129 runs.
England stay alive in Sri Lanka as Joe Root claims another century
The Yorkshireman has reached three figures in consecutive matches for the first time in his career.