Jason Roy warmed up for the start of England’s World T20 campaign with a half-century against New Zealand © Getty Images
Jason Roy is aiming to combine his free-spirited batting with “tactical nous” as he and England seek to put behind recent limited-overs defeats in South Africa going into the World T20. England went down 3-2 in the ODIs – after holding a 2-0 lead – and lost both their T20 fixtures, but have started their build-up to the World T20 with a rousing six-wicket win over New Zealand. Roy’s 36-ball 55 set in motion England’s racy chase, and he hoped to replicate that touch without going for broke every time.
“I have got to realise I need to give myself time, I’m not a robot,” he said. “It is [fun to go flat out] when you stay in longer than 10 balls. As well as enjoying myself and whacking it I need to give myself a chance, work hard and accumulate runs. A bit of tactical nous instead of just trying to bludgeon the ball is something I have learned a huge amount about in the last two and a half weeks. Mentally I have been getting myself ready for that back at The Oval.”
“The ball came on nicely,” he added of his productive start in India. “It was my first experience of playing T20 cricket at this stadium. The seamers were coming on nicely in the first few overs. The boundary being smaller one side helped.”
Roy managed a meagre 96 runs from five ODI innings in South Africa and scored 15 and 9 in the T20Is but his role in the limited-overs set-up has been defined more by the impact he can provide at the top along with Alex Hales. Roy, however, admitted to being weighed down by the pressure of having to live up to such an image during the South Africa series where he felt England were “mostly poor.”
“It’s a nice role to have, however you can put too much pressure on yourself like I did in South Africa,” he said. “I put too much pressure on myself to go out there and whack it from ball one. I think I might have expected myself to score more runs than I did and I didn’t really reach my expectations as well as I should have.
“I should have just freed myself and enjoyed myself instead of expecting to get runs. That’s what I’m doing now, just going into each game and going ball by ball. I don’t want to think about the game the night before or on the morning. I just want to have no pre-conceived ideas and not think too far ahead. My expectation was I was playing the bowlers before the game started I was doing that wrong.
“We didn’t really do as well as we had hoped in South Africa. We played some poor cricket in amongst some good cricket, but mostly poor. The next couple of weeks are huge for us to turn it round. The squad’s been really gelling well together and the training has been high intensity.”
Roy dismissed suggestions of insecurity over his place in the side and spoke about the futility of looking over the shoulder, saying it would only reflect poor work ethic. “If you are questioning your place, you are not working hard enough,” he said. “I just take each game as it comes and work as hard as I can in the nets. If I’m not picked, I’m not picked and there’s another player who has earned himself the right to play instead of me. I’m never kind of too worried about whether I’m going to be picked or not.”
He said England would aim to sustain the intensity displayed during the New Zealand game as they play a local side, which will feature a few players from the English squad, at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday.
“It doesn’t really matter who you are playing against, it is just the environment of being in the middle of the stadium and taking it in, and there are four of our guys playing against us so no doubt they will be putting a huge shift in too. We have had inter-squad games and it does get very feisty, very aggressive. You might fall out for the night but we’re all mates so it’s all good.”
From an English perspective there has been a significantly warmer attitude towards the shorter formats of the game following the appointment of Andrew Strauss as the director of England cricket. That Strauss has encouraged coaches and players to partake of the experience of overseas franchise T20 leagues augurs particularly well for the likes of Roy and Hales who have built their reputation in white-ball cricket.
“It’s just that in the next few years you have got a huge amount of one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket coming up. Especially now with the World Cup, we are realising that white-ball cricket is important now. And the more experience the better, the boys getting up to the IPL, playing there and playing all over the world is only positive. There probably is a bit of a change.
“My first Lions tour was to India, a lot of A tours have been played in the sub-continent, we went to Dubai, won against Pakistan. So we’ve made huge improvements and huge headway and the next couple of weeks will show just how much headway we have made.”
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo