White, Ball-shaped, Roy To Make A Case For The Choice Of The Test? > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - In white-ball form, can Roy make a case for Test selection?
As the players used Sunday to take a day off from the rigmarole of the World Cup and prepare for Thursday's semi-final against Australia, the Ashes filled the airwaves with talk of Jason Roy's qualities as a Test opener.
His head coach Trevor Bayliss spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live and extolled the 28-year old's virtues as a red ball opener off the back of a prodigious few years excelled against the white one. Despite not batting four times through a hamstring injury, Roy has cuffed 341 runs in the World Cup at an average of 68, passing fifty four times and converting one to a bumper 153.
"It's a definite option," said Bayliss when the option of Roy was put to him, "one we have spoken about around the selection table for the last 12 months or so."
Naturally Roy, with nine ODI hundreds to his name - the same number of first-class centuries in his possession - is up for it, despite a relatively modest record at the domestic level, where he averages just 38.
"Yeah, there has been a bit of chat and you can't avoid it," said Roy. "But playing Test cricket and playing in the Ashes has been an ambition of mine for years. It hasn't just come about in the last couple of months. Over the last little while, there has been a lot of talk about Test cricket and if the call comes then great it comes, but if it doesn't then so be it."
There are some points of contention, even if England are not blessed with more obvious options. Firstly, that average which is made up predominantly from knocks in the middle order. He only has one four-figure season in County Cricket back in 2014 and his recent red-ball cricket with his county, Surrey, has been limited by international commitments.
Nevertheless, it is clear Roy has matured as a batsman. His main issue against the red Dukes was his knack of pushing hard early on, particularly outside off-stump. But through trial and error - and success over the last two years - he feels his game and technique are in a healthier place. And far better equipped for the rigours of Test cricket. Time has been a key factor.
"When you're young you don't understand a huge amount about batting, you just go out there and bat. But now I feel like I know myself a lot better as a batsman.
"Most of my batting in first-class cricket has been at 4, 5, or 6, but I played at three twice last year so I'm happy wherever they want to put me. They can put me at nine if they want, although I can't bowl a few overs! I think I'm better off at the top of the order and then I can give it a go from there."
Some will cry foul should Roy get the nod. It would be, perhaps, a slight on the County Championship which is there to produce players for the Test side. However, no opener coming up has been able to stick it out, with Roy's Surrey teammate Rory Burns the latest on the block.
Along with the standard, the pressure can also take its toll. Roy, however, with four years of international experience - two of those as a mainstay in a side that has revolutionised English 50-over cricket - believes he has the mindset to take whatever the five-day game throws at him.
"If I get the chance then I'd like to think I'll be able to cope, but I don't want to speak too soon because there is plenty that goes on.
"You get analysed a lot more in Test cricket. They are long days and they've got to talk about something which will be interesting. I've played a lot of white ball games for England so if I get a chance then that should hold me in good stead."
Importantly for Roy and his state of mind, he will not be afraid to be himself: "Everyone knows what I'm about, so if I get caught at 4th slip driving at a ball that maybe a 'traditional' Test cricketer wouldn't drive at, then people hopefully won't be too outraged by that."
If Roy's effect on the ODI side is anything to go by, the Test set-up are in for a boost. As evidence in the last two must-win World Cup group matches against India and New Zealand, his frenetic style has a calming influence on the dressing room. His return from injury boosted England to a first World Cup semi-final since 1992.
He says he is "close to 100 percent" fit which is a testament to his form with the bat. Even below par physically, he was able to rattle off a 60 and 66 in his last two innings. "To know that when I'm not feeling completely 100 percent and I can still hit 60, then that's not bad," he says.
There is still a touch of rust, but the two hit-outs will have helped. As for the nerves, they are under check. Even so, the occasion is not lost on him.
"I think we've got to try and treat it like any other game," says Roy. "We went into the last two games knowing we had to win both of them to make it to the semi-final and we did that. The reason we did that was because we stayed pretty relaxed about it and made sure we got the job done.
"As exciting as it is, we've got to stay as relaxed as we can, obviously understanding that it is a World Cup semi-final that doesn't come around very often and that we've been working towards this for years."
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