London: England men’s cricket managing director Rob Key revealed the selectors spent the most time on deciding to omit Jason Roy from the England squad for Men’s T20 World Cup, saying that the right-handed opener hit a bad patch of form at the worst time.
On Friday, Roy was left out of England’s Men’s T20 World Cup squad and from seven T20Is tour of Pakistan as well as three T20Is trip to Australia before the mega event. Roy has struggled to get runs in England’s home summer, scoring just 78 runs in six T20Is, averaging 12.66.
Roy had been an integral part of England’s unit in white-ball cricket since 2015 and played a good role in the side winning the 2019 ODI World Cup at home. His ‘The Hundred’ campaign in 2022 for the Oval Invincibles was horrendous, with three ducks in four innings and his overall numbers in the competition standing at 51 runs in six innings.
“That (Roy selection) was the one we spent the most time on, trying to work out the best thing to do. Fiddly selection as much for logistics as anyone else. We worked out the World Cup 11 and squad for that, and worked back from there. We thought about the best opening pair for the World Cup. It’s unfortunate timing for Jason Roy as much as anything else. He’s hit a bad patch of form at the worst time,” said Key after the squad announcement.
With Roy now dropped, Key said Jonny Bairstow will open the batting alongside captain Jos Buttler. Bairstow had been batting in England’s middle-order in T20Is due to his ability to hit well against the spinners. He will now take up the role in which he excels well for the ODI side.
“The latest we could announce the World Cup squad was the 16th. So it wasn’t like we could use Pakistan. We’d be taking a gamble on him finding form in that time. So we felt with the abundance of openers we had, and we felt Jonny Bairstow is one of the best openers in T20 cricket in the world – he’s done it in the IPL, but been very good in the middle order as well – we felt the best combination at this time was Jonny and Jos and we worked back from that point,” added Key.
Key further revealed that Roy was informed of his exclusion from Men’s T20 World Cup squad apart from matches against Pakistan and Australia by Buttler. It was followed by Key as well as white-ball coach Matthew Mott speaking to him.
“He was obviously very disappointed. Gutted was the phrase he used. He wanted to make sure this wasn’t the end. You always feel these are long meaningful chats when you speak to players about this stuff. Actually Jos was the one who rang him. Jos wanted to be the one to tell him.”
“They obviously have a relationship and he felt he was the right person to tell him. Myself and Matthew Mott have spoken to him since. He’s obviously very disappointed and wants to have a chance to show he’s not finished in international cricket, which I don’t think he is.”
“I still think he’s a fantastic player but the timing has been awful for him, to lose form at that time. To not have a huge amount of time to stop, reset, and then find it again. Certainly in that white-ball series (against South Africa), the close nature of every game means once you got on a roll in one way it’s very hard to get out of.”
Key was sure that not being in the T20 World Cup doesn’t mark the end of Roy as a T20I opener and backed him to find form to get back into the set-up. “The game is about confidence as much as anything else. If he finds that again he too is one of the best openers around when he’s at the top of his game.”
“I don’t see it by any stretch that his T20 career is over. It’s just a case of him finding form, and I’m sure he will have plenty of opportunities in the abundance of T20 cricket that there is around the world to find that form again.”
“I certainly don’t think the age that he is that this is the end of Jason Roy. I would argue that the 50-over format is his strongest suit and we still see him as very much part of this set-up. Given his white-ball summer and then the Hundred we feel it’s too much of a gamble to continue going into Pakistan and straight into Australia.”