Jason Roy axing shows ‘ruthless’ side of sport – but England keep the door open

World Cup winner Jason Roy was dropped from the England squad to make way for Harry Brook

Sonia Twigg
Monday 18 September 2023 11:24 BST
<p>England have not shut door fully on Jason Roy </p>

England have not shut door fully on Jason Roy

Jason Roy was part of one of the most successful opening partnerships in white-ball cricket alongside Jonny Bairstow, but he was axed from the squad in favour of relative youngster Harry Brook.

It was a double blow, after Roy was included in the initial 15-strong provisional squad when it was announced a month ago, but on Sunday the team was finalised, and the decision made, Roy was out.

Even the England selectors thought the decision had been made, but performances in the warm-up ODI series against New Zealand – where Roy was unable to play a part due to injury and fitness concerns – forced a change.

“(It was) incredibly tough, as it was originally when Harry missed out as well. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly,” England men’s selector Luke Wright said.

“From a selection panel, when we got together we realised things had slightly changed and Dawid (Malan) would be the one opening the batting with Jonny in the World Cup.”

Although at 33, Roy is arguably in the twilight of his international career, he holds the experience of 116 ODI matches behind him, over 4,000 runs and 12 centuries. While Brook has played just six times in the format, and has played a large proportion of his cricket since the domestic 50-over competition was relegated to a second-tier trophy to pave the way for the Hundred.

Crucially that was not the case when England had a ‘white-ball’ reset that culminated in the heroic 2019 victory, bolstered by the domestic 50-over competition.

Captain Jos Buttler spoke about loyalty in the squad and selections after the final warm-up match against New Zealand, but a day later the decision was announced, and Roy was out, despite what might have been said a month previously.

“(At the end of August) everyone was told, ‘Look, this is the 15 we’re looking to take to the World Cup,’” Wright said.

“I think everyone was aware that there’s the 28th (September) cut-off date (with the ICC), but unfortunately that’s the ruthless side of sports, isn’t it, and it’s not the nice side of sport that changes do have to be made.”

Harry Brook has done enough to convince England selectors despite ODI inexperience

“I think throughout the whole series, it has been spoken about the whole way through: this date and changing (the squad).

“It’s not a nice moment to have to change someone who feels like they’re going to be on the plane to the World Cup. But ultimately, we have to pick the best squad that we think [there] is and that’s the way we’ve gone.”

However, Wright has left a route open for Roy to return to the fold, explaining that England view him as a reserve top-order batter – theoretically should an injury occur to Malan or Bairstow, Roy could yet find himself on the plane to India, but it remains a critical decision.

The only travelling reserve following the team around will be Jofra Archer, with Wright ‘excited’ over the prospect of the fast bowler on the brink of a return, but due to his injury problems over the last few years, he has been rightfully carefully managed by England.

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