Scottish Daily Mail

Roy’s lead­ing from the front for Eng­land... thanks to KP

- PAUL NEW­MAN Cricket Cor­re­spon­dent re­ports from Shar­jah

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”.’

 ?? GETTY IM­AGES ?? Open­ing up: Ja­son Roy
GETTY IM­AGES Open­ing up: Ja­son Roy
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