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India tour of England 2014: Who is Jason Roy?

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Jason Roy’s (above) power-hitting pyrotecnics has found a fan in Kevin Pietersen © Getty Images

Jason Roy was picked in the England T20 International side to face India. The right-hander was the leading run-scorer during the recent T20 Blast in England and is one batsman who can add a lot of value to the England side. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about Roy’s prospects.

Who is Jason Roy? Indian fans may have watched him play during the occasional telecast of the T20 Blast. The Surrey opener was the leading run-scorer of the recently concluded T20 event, with a compelling record in his favour. In 15 matches, he smashed a 677 runs at an incredible average of 48. 35. But, two statistics make this record even more special: In 15 games, he hit nine half-centuries with a strike-rate of 157.07. It would have been a crime to keep him out of the England setup for any longer.

With Alastair Cook’s spot in the One-Day International (ODI) side coming under scrutiny in recent times, Roy’s name was often discussed as an option. Many suggested that if England are to move into the “modern era” of one-day cricket, players like Roy could be one of the torchbearers. Roy is a typical modern batsman. He is fearless in the middle, likes to take it to the bowlers and is unafraid to use his feet to the fast bowlers. Batsmen like him can give the opposition quite a few headaches and demoralize them in a matter of a few overs. In future, he may be considered for the one-day side at some point. For now, it is the shortest format that brings him to international cricket.

The South African-born 24-year-old batsman made his debut in 2008, but it was in 2010 that he showed his true potential in T20 cricket. Batting at No 3 against Kent, he hit 101 not out off 63 balls five sixes and 11 fours. The next year, he hit 363 runs in the season with four fifties. Those performances took him to the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), where he featured in two seasons. Roy has also been a part of the England Lions setup and was on the selectors’ radar for the future.

Watching him bat can be a thrilling experience. During the recent T20 Blast semi-final, he charged out to the seamer in the very first over and picked him for a six over square-leg. There is an initial shuffle before he gets into position to play his strokes. He uses a lot of power behind all those shots, giving it everything to send it over the ropes. Roy is also comfortable moving across his stumps, making room and lofting the bowlers over the top. Such an approach can trouble the bowlers and set them off rhythm.

In combination with Alex Hales, Roy can form a thrilling opening partnership. Hales has shown his ability with a few knocks in T20 Internationals. If Roy can bring his best to England’s T20 side, they would have a very good pair at the top. There was an anti-climax though. On the day of his selection, Roy injured himself while batting in the Surrey nets. Though the injury isn’t serious, England would be nervous and would wait over his fitness. Roy himself would pray all is well!

Complete coverage of India’s tour to England here

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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