Sport News

Supplied by

Kumar Sangakkara backs Jason Roy to continue scintillating England ODI form

12:42 pm, 22nd June 2018

Roy blasted 101 from 83 balls at Durham on Thursday as England moved 4-0 up with one match to play, having made 82 in the record-breaking win at Trent Bridge and 120 in the second game at Cardiff.

Sky Sports Cricket expert Sangakkara has noticed improvements in the opener’s mindset and technique and feels the 27-year-old is starting to live up to his potential.

“It’s been frustrating for him and Surrey that he has this power game but has never really adapted to being consistent and scored impactful innings one after the other,” said the former Sri Lanka batsman.

“But the way he has worked his game out – he talked in the morning about being self-aware and mature – has got him to a stage where he is starting to realise how to construct innings.

“It’s not all about power – it’s about touch, batting in a partnership and taking responsibility, which are good signs for England and Roy.

“You don’t want Jason to be a player with immense talent who doesn’t fulfill it and I think this is just the start.

“A lot of players blindly talk to other players and try out whatever advice is given but he has worked out a method and this is the blueprint he needs to work on.

“He used to hit beautiful shots to fielders and not think about running – he’d admire his position and miss singles and the pressure would mount on him to hit boundaries.

“Now he is hitting mid-off and mid-on with soft hands – his strike rotation has helped him immensely.”

Sangakkara’s fellow pundit, Nasser Hussain, believes Roy – who averaged 21.80 in the 10 ODI innings before his century in Cardiff – has been “smart” in recent games, highlighting his method against Australia’s spinners.

The former England captain also explained why Roy’s opening partnership with Jonny Bairstow works so well – the duo having shared stands of 159 and 174 at Nottingham and Durham respectively to set their side up for comprehensive victories.

“Jason used to get a hundred and then go out in the next games, club it in the air and not start again,” said Hussain. “He would also get pretty thirties and forties and think he has to keep going at the same tempo.

“What he has done in this series is reined himself in at times, knocking it around against spin, and then gone hard again. He has been very smart.

“[Alex] Hales would often take up 20 deliveries getting in and then catch up later on, so Jason felt he was the one that always had to take the aggressive route [when they opened together].

“But Bairstow is so fast scoring that one day it might be him [getting off to a flyer] and another day it might be Jason doing that. They dovetail well.

“Bairstow hits good balls for four and Roy belts bad balls for four and six – bowlers are always having to adjust their lengths.”

Jos Buttler (54no off 29 balls) built on the platform laid by Roy and Bairstow (79 off 66) to power his side to a six-wicket victory at Chester-le-Street with 32 balls remaining, with Sangakkara now classing the wicketkeeper-batsman as England’s “most important player”.

“He adapted beautifully to the conditions – it wasn’t the easiest wicket to settle in but he came in and made it look so easy,” Sangakkara added of Buttler.

“It was about good cricket shots, it was about trusting his game. He moves around the crease but what I love is that he is still and solid when he comes into his stroke.

“He is never out of position and can adapt to variations of pace, variations in the wicket. That is why, to me, he is the most important English player.”

Watch the fifth and final ODI between England and Australia live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Sunday.

Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.