Jason Roy believes he is in the “best headspace” of his international career, after helping to propel England to the brink of a 5-0 whitewash against Australia with a haul of two centuries and a fifty in a record-laden run of performances.
However Roy insists that the form and confidence currently coursing through England’s white-ball squad is merely a “stepping stone to the bigger picture”, with the World Cup on home soil looming this time next year.
“It’s great breaking all the records and stuff but at the end of the day, the aim is to have this confidence come the World Cup so we can get some good wins under our belts,” he said. “The records are fantastic, obviously, and it’s a nice reward for the hard work we have put in.”
Chief among those records, of course, was England’s 481 for 6 in the third ODI at Trent Bridge, the highest score ever made in a limited-overs international.
And though Roy’s 82 from 61 balls was integral to an opening stand of 159 inside the first 20 overs of that innings, the mainstays of England’s performance that day were his top three colleagues, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales. Both made centuries to crank up the competition for places in the most stacked batting line-up in the game.
“I guess so,” said Roy, when asked if the selection battle was driving the players to new heights. “You obviously want everyone to do well, each individual in the team. There’s no animosity outside the changing room, nothing’s changed. We are all very good friends, it’s just a case of wanting the best out of your mate. It’s pretty simple.”
“Jonny strikes the ball incredibly cleanly, especially at this moment in time, and he just seems to be in an amazing purple patch which is great for him and the team.
“We’re getting off to such good starts and when you’re chasing totals like 310 it makes it easier for the guys coming in. We kind of spur each other on and say ‘good shot’ and things like that. Random stuff.
“We know our games pretty well and we know each other’s games pretty well. If he doesn’t want to take risks against one bowler I might want to take risks against them. We’re working well together as a pair to be honest.”
The upshot of Roy’s current form, and Bairstow’s continued excellence, is that Hales remains the most vulnerable of the top three when Ben Stokes returns from injury next month.
“It’s a tough call for the management. Nothing to do with me,” said Roy. “Me and Halesy had great chemistry, likewise Jonny and Halesy and myself and Jonny and so forth. The nature of the way we play is beneficial to the team.”
Roy dismissed the notion that he had anything still to learn from his dramatic loss of form during last year’s Champions Trophy, when he was dropped in favour of Bairstow for England’s defeat in the semi-finals against the eventual winners, Pakistan.
“A year ago. We’re talking about a year ago now,” he said. “It is a relatively simple game, you work hard, you train hard and you get some good results and I’m happy that the results have come my way now.
“As a kid I did look up to the Champions Trophy and wanted to play well, but I got dropped and that was heartbreaking for me, so going away and putting in the hard work, I know I’m going to get my rewards.
“Let’s hope this time next year I’m at the World Cup and I’m in decent form and can win some games for the team.
“At the end of the day I want to be a part of the team in the World Cup. If I’m not I’m not that’s the way it is, it is for the benefit of the team.”
Source : ESPN Cricinfo