Scottish Daily Mail
Roy’s leading from the front for England... thanks to KP
IT TOOK just one switch-hit that almost went for six over the long Abu Dhabi boundary to demonstrate who has been the biggest influence on Jason Roy.
That audacious shot in the second one-day international off a bowler, Yasir Shah, who tormented England’s Test team was out of the locker of Kevin Pietersen, who has been something of a mentor to Roy at Surrey.
The pair not only share a background in Kwa-Zulu Natal but also a destructive approach to batting that now sees Roy as the epitome of the high-octane approach to one-day cricket England are determined to employ here.
It worked for them on Friday as England put their miserable performance in the first match behind them to prove that their new policy can work in Asian conditions, Roy doing much to nullify the threat of Shah with one bold stroke.
‘He’s a great guy for having a positive mindset,’ said Roy of the man who may have been banished by England but still exerts an influence on his young charge at The Oval.
‘No matter where he’s playing, when the chips are down he still manages to maintain that positivity, which is difficult at international level.’
It is another adopted man of Surrey, in Kumar Sangakkara, who Roy will look to while attempting to take the next step with England and convert the three half-centuries he has made in one-day cricket so far into hundreds.
‘He’s been fantastic in terms of maintaining an innings,’ said Roy of the Sri Lankan.
‘I think if he’d been with me the other day, when I gave it away on 50-odd, he would have been pulling his hair out. He’s been great for me and I look forward to learning more from him at Surrey next year.’
Whether Roy goes on to be a big success at Test level like Pietersen and Sangakkara remains to be seen but there are influential figures within the England setup who believe he could bat at No 5 in the ultimate form of the game.
To do so he will be told to carry on batting his way even if, so far, it has led to as many failures as successes.
Roy came to England from his family home in Durban at the age of 10 and learned the game at Whitgift School.
England were impressed with his selfless attitude last summer against New Zealand, and his willingness to put the team before himself earned him an extended run in 50-over cricket against Australia, and now here where they will meet Pakistan in the third one-day international tomorrow.
‘I’m not the sort of player who will go out there and nurdle it around for the first 10 overs,’ said Roy.
‘I’ve got to maintain that positivity because if I don’t a few things can go wrong.
‘It’s not the way I play. I’ve just got to kick on now and if I get to 50 I must then say: “Right, I’m going to start again on nought”.’