Opener Jason Roy is all set to make his England Test debut against Ireland at Lord's next week. Despite not playing a first-class match since November 2018, Roy was named in England’s 13-man Test squad on Wednesday (July 17).
Nonetheless, Roy has been in stellar form in white-ball cricket lately. He played an instrumental role in England’s maiden ODI World Cup triumph, amassing 443 runs during the showpiece tournament including a swashbuckling knock of 65-ball 85 in the semi-final against arch-rivals Australia.
Reflecting on Roy's Test call-up, England chief selector Ed Smith said: “It’s no great secret that we have long been admirers of Jason. He’s growing as a batsman all the time and is a more complete player than he’s ever been.”
“The big question with Jason Roy was when was the ideal time to make the move into Test cricket? (England captain) Joe Root and I spoke at length months ago about the scenario in which Jason finished the World Cup confident, full of runs and went straight into the Ashes and that’s what we’ve done. It feels like a really good time for Jason to join the Test team as an opener. He’s in and has our full backing.”
“Our confidence in him is based on a mixture of him as a player, person, and performer in all formats. When he did play at the very back of end of last summer in red-ball cricket he did well for Surrey and again for the Lions he carried on his good form in red-ball cricket. There’s never been any doubt about his talent, audacity or his presence at the crease – it’s fantastic. All those things are very clear. But he’s also gained improved mastery and adaptability,” he explained.
While Roy’s scintillating strokeplay will be on display at Lord’s, England’s two potent pacers of the World Cup will be missed in the four-day Test against Ireland.
While Mark Wood has been ruled out for four to six weeks due to side strain sustained in Sunday’s World Cup final, Jofra Archer has been given a period of rest ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series.
“We don’t know when Jofra will be available at the moment. He has a side injury. He’s having a bit of a break now because he’s played a lot of cricket and has been a central protagonist in one of the great stories in sport,” Smith said.
“He will get every medical attention so that he will be fit as soon as possible. Then we’ll make an informed decision for the good of England cricket. He’s a very good cricketer and we’re very excited about him and what he can do in all formats,” he continued.
Veteran paceman James Anderson has been included in the squad but may not feature in the playing XI as he continues his rehabilitation from a calf injury.
“Jimmy is making very good progress. If he is good to go, he will play in the Ireland Test. If he is deemed too big a risk, he will not play against Ireland. The third scenario is that he sends down a certain amount of overs to make sure he gets just the right amount of work before the Ashes,” the chief selector asserted.
(With inputs from Evening Express)