Jason Roy exclusive: I’m here to make a big impact at T20 World Cup


oin Morgan might be the omnipotent emperor of English white-ball cricket, but there is little doubt who will play the role of standard bearer when their T20 World Cup begins on Saturday.

As an attacking opening batter, always taking the first ball (even when analysts would say he should not, for match-up reasons), Jason Roy is England’s tone setter, the man who breathes belief through the rest of the side.

England’s last major tournament, the 2019 World Cup, is a neat illustration of this. They lost three matches there.

The first, against Pakistan, saw Roy have a rare off-day, dropping a simple catch and falling cheaply. The second and third, against Sri Lanka and Australia, were while he was injured. When Roy returned, all seemed right with the side once more.

He made 66, 60 and 85 — all at a good lick, against the best teams in the tournament, in a knockout scenario — to power England into the final.

With Roy, it is as much “how” as “how many”. His T20i average might look, well, average (25), but his strike-rate is 146, the highest of any Englishman with 250 T20i runs.

Sending a selfless, fearless message is not something Roy sets out to do, and he points out England have plenty of batters capable of scoring quickly. But this is clearly a role he likes.

“It’s trying to ease the pressure in the changing room,” he tells Standard Sport.

“I like the idea of helping the team, especially when we are chasing totals, to go out there and calm the nerves, ease the pressure, then, yeah, it’s a great feeling.

“But it’s about making a big impact on the game. Whether that’s starting slowly or going at a million miles an hour, it’s just working out what’s right for the team.”

Roy fell for a golden duck in yesterday’s final warm-up game, a 13-run win over New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, but arrives at the tournament in confident mood. He had a quiet 2020, which he describes as “shocking”. In many ways, that is little surprise.

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