Warner and Se­hwag set the tem­plate for Roy to repli­cate white-ball form

Opener can flour­ish in Tests with an at­tack­ing mind­set com­ple­mented by some com­mon sense

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Specsavers Test - MICHAEL VAUGHAN

If Ja­son Roy wants a tem­plate on which to base his Test ca­reer, he should look to his op­po­site num­ber in Eng­land’s Ashes op­po­nents this sum­mer – David Warner. Like Roy, Warner went from Twenty20 and 50-over cricket straight into the Test game and has made a stun­ning suc­cess of it – pre­cisely be­cause he adapted his game to the longer for­mat. Watch Warner in a Test now, and he does not just try to whack ev­ery­thing. In­stead, he takes his time, as­sesses con­di­tions and plays the ball on its mer­its. Yes, he is still an at­tack­ing player, but that at­ti­tude is tem­pered by com­mon sense.

Viren­der Se­hwag was the same for In­dia, tak­ing the pos­i­tive mind­set which had served him so well in one-day­ers into the Test arena. It made him a night­mare to play against be­cause, as an op­pos­ing cap­tain, you knew that if you did not get him out in the first hour, In­dia would get off to a flier.

He had the po­ten­tial to de­stroy all your care­fully laid plans as a cap­tain, and Roy can have that same kind of im­pact for Eng­land. He cer­tainly has all the at­tributes you want in a Test opener.

If you see him in a one-day in­nings, he watches the ball very well, is very strong down the ground and plays the ball as late as pos­si­ble. All those skills are in­valu­able in the longer for­mat, es­pe­cially play­ing late, when you are fac­ing a red ball that will swing more than a white one.

He must not fall into the trap of

think­ing that just be­cause he has the rep­u­ta­tion as an at­tack­ing player, he must try to smash every ball, but re­tain­ing a pos­i­tive mind­set is cru­cial if he is to have the im­pact Eng­land are ex­pect­ing.

In that re­gard, Eng­land have to show a bit of pa­tience, as does every­one fol­low­ing the team. A player such as Roy is go­ing to play the odd iffy shot and get out – that is just what hap­pens when some­one likes to get on the front foot and dom­i­nate the bowl­ing.

The key is for him to take the con­fi­dence and swag­ger he showed in the World Cup – when his re­turn from in­jury trans­formed a team who had been wob­bling badly into win­ners – and not over­think things.

Do not get bogged down by think­ing you need to bat all day, or two ses­sions or what­ever – just trust your in­stincts. They have served you pretty well up to this point.

Roy’s se­lec­tion tells me a lot about the way Eng­land want to take their Test team, be­cause it has changed the dy­namic of the top or­der at a stroke.

Re­cently, Eng­land have had three old-school play­ers in the top three po­si­tions – ac­cu­mu­la­tors who were con­ser­va­tive in their ap­proach and whose main pri­or­ity was oc­cu­py­ing the crease. Pick­ing an at­tack­ing bats­man such as Roy and ask­ing him to front up to a world-class new-ball at­tack in Aus­tralia shows me that Eng­land want to up their ag­gres­sion.

They want to dic­tate the tempo of the Test and put their op­po­nents on the back foot.

It is the way this team need to go. To put it bluntly, they just do not have a Ge­of­frey Boy­cott-style “wall” who can come in and bat for six hours – in fact, not many teams have any­one like that th­ese days.

We are liv­ing through a chang­ing era of cricket. Shots that would have been con­sid­ered mad­ness in my era are now par for the course, and scor­ing rates are sky-high. Eng­land are at the fore­front of that – they have an abun­dance of ag­gres­sive, pow­er­ful bats­men who can take the game to the op­po­si­tion, so they just have to go with it.

That is one of the rea­sons I would have been tempted to pair Roy with Jonny Bairstow at the top of the Test or­der, recre­at­ing the part­ner­ship from one-day cricket. That would ob­vi­ously only work if Jonny was happy to give up the wick­et­keep­ing gloves to Ben Foakes – and we know that is not what he wants, so it would prob­a­bly be a short con­ver­sa­tion. Still, it must have been se­ri­ously tempt­ing for the se­lec­tors to raise it as a pos­si­bil­ity.

What Eng­land do not have to worry about is play­ers such as Roy be­ing over­awed by the oc­ca­sion – win­ning the World Cup in the man­ner they did proved that will not be an is­sue. Nei­ther will Roy’s con­fi­dence be knocked by get­ting a cou­ple of low scores, as he has the kind of at­ti­tude that will shrug that off very quickly.

That said, it will do him no harm if he gets a big score against Ireland.

It might not be the show­piece Test of the sum­mer, but he will walk out at Edg­bas­ton for the first Ashes game next week in a much bet­ter mood if he is com­ing off the back of a big hun­dred against the Ir­ish. Set the tone to­day, and Aus­tralia will have been served no­tice.

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