England managing director of men’s cricket Rob Key has revealed the reason for dropping Jason Roy from the T20 World Cup 2022 squad. Roy was unimpressive in the T20 World Cup last year, scoring just one fifty in five matches. His poor run of form continued even after the tournament. Since November 2021, he managed to score just 206 runs at an average of 18.72. While dropping him was not an easy decision to make for the English management, Rob Key believes it was necessary for the good of the team.
“That was the one we spent the most amount of time actually, trying to work out the best thing to do,” Key said. “The way we went about it is that we worked out the World Cup XI almost and the squad for that then we worked back from there. And that’s where those decisions came from. We thought who was the best, what was the best opening partnership for the World Cup and we felt that… it’s unfortunate timing as much as anything else for Jason Roy. He has a bad patch of form at the worst time.”
England play a seven-match T20I series against Pakistan from 20 to 30 September as a build-up to the main event. However, with little time left, Key admitted that Roy’s inclusion would have been a ‘gamble’.
“It wasn’t like you could use Pakistan, you’d be taking a gamble in Pakistan on whether or not he would find form in that time. So it just felt with the abundance of openers that we had and actually, we felt that Jonny Bairstow is one of the best opening batsmen in T20 cricket in the world. “He does it in the IPL, he has always done it in the IPL. He is pretty good in the middle order as well. We just felt that the best combination this time is gonna be Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, and then we work back from that point. “
While Key was firm on his decision about Roy, he believes the 32-year-old has plenty of cricket left in him and can make a comeback if he can get back on track.
“He just has to go find form, to be honest. It’s not a good time to lose form in this format. The game’s about confidence as much as anything else. If he finds that again, he is one of the best openers around in this format. When he is playing well, he is at the top of this game. So I don’t see his T20 career over.
“It’s just a case of finding form and I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities, with the abundance of T20 cricket that there is around the world to find that form again. I certainly don’t see at the age that he is, that this is the end of Jason Roy.”
Key also thinks that Roy is at his best in the 50-over format. Roy was terrific for England in the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at home. In eight matches, the opener smashed 443 runs at an average of 63.28. With the next Cricket World Cup just over a year away, Roy has plenty of time to solidify his position in that squad.
“We will see him in the 50-over format, which I’d argue is his strongest suit. So we still see him very much a part of that set-up. He is just missing at the moment with the white-ball series that we had, then going into The Hundred as well, we felt that it was too much of a gamble to continue going into Pakistan and then straight into Australia where the squad that goes to the World Cup from there.”
“He was obviously very disappointed but he needs a chance to show that he is not finished in international cricket, which none of us feels that he is. He is a fantastic player. It’s just that the timing has been awful for him.”
Also missing from England’s T20 World Cup squad is 33-year-old Alex Hales, who last featured in a white-ball international in 2019. Key confessed while Hales has more than made up for his past mistakes, the Jos Buttler-Jonny Bairstow opening combination will be more beneficial to the side when they go to Australia.
“When we started talking about who we felt is the best opening partner for Jos Buttler, Alex Hales was mentioned a lot. But we just felt that Jonny Bairstow was that man to go on and do that in the World Cup.
“I have said it on a number of occasions that Alex Hales has served his time for his misdemeanours and now it’s just on form to select and whether or not we feel that best person to go out there. At the moment we felt that Bairstow is the best opening batsman for the World Cup.”