Jason Roy relishes a saving century for England after struggling in out-of-form ‘horrendous year’


n Friday night in Bloemfontein, Jason Roy’s ‘horrible year’ – which he would later reveal was plagued by self-doubts – got a lot better.

Struggling since last summer, chased out of the English side who won the T20 World Cup and, perhaps, playing to keep their place in the 50+ equivalent, finally it all clicked, up to an utterly superb 79-ball century in the ODI’s first loss to South Africa.

“I actually didn’t sleep very well,” Roy admitted, speaking to a group of reporters at the England team hotel the morning after. “I was kind of overwhelmed with a few emotions and stuff like that. The last few months have been hectic. I woke up great, though – it was the best five hours of sleep I’ve had!

Roy’s innings of 113 out of 91 deliveries was something of a trademark hit, with the first of 15 bound only coming off his third ball as the South African bowlers were put under the pump in an opening partnership of 146 with Dawid Malan, before England squandered position to drop 28 short in pursuit of 299 for victory.

“It was a nice feeling to go out there and be myself: chew gum, give it all the bravado, say a few things to the opposition, fight a little bit and it was a very proud,” Roy says, having sometimes felt something other than himself over the past 12 months.

Roy identifies his return from the Pakistan Super League early last spring as things started to go south, with the 32-year-old then retiring from the Indian Premier League because “I needed to work on a lot of things in my head.”

At the start of the national season, Roy felt “a happier person”, but a period of leanness that deepened during a campaign “disaster” in the Hundred led to the dreaded phone call in which he was told he was being fired from the T20 side. In the fall, his central contract was also downgraded to an incremental contract.

“It was just all of these things, it was like an avalanche of shitty things happening over and over again,” Roy said. “You start doubting yourself as a player, thinking people have forgotten about you even though you’ve played a lot of cricket, you start doubting yourself as a guy, becoming reserved, which isn’t all just not me.

Roy’s innings of 113 out of 91 deliveries was something of a trademark hit

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“To then go out and put it all in a cupboard, lock it up and play like I played yesterday, I’m really proud of myself.”

Roy returned to the English setup for the ODI defeat in Australia before Christmas, which began just days after the T20 World Cup final.

“It was a hell of a tough thing to do, to be kicked out of the team and come back after winning,” he said. “Guys didn’t really want to be there, which is fair enough, and I have to go out there and try to score some points. It was not pleasant.

Head coach Matthew Mott and captain Jos Buttler both made bold public statements of support for Roy upon his arrival in South Africa this week, but the player himself was under no illusions about the need urgent of a score, with the English defense of the World Cup in India only. in nine months.

“No matter what team structures and support you get, you always have that element of self-doubt that comes into play,” Roy said, an admission unsurprising given the plethora of young batting talent making the lined up for a crack in his shirt. They include the likes of Phil Salt and Will Jacks, who had a stellar summer at home for Surrey and Oval Invincibles, often with Roy batting at the other end.

“It wasn’t easy,” Roy said. “To be where I was mentally and the guys tear it up, but then you realize that was me once upon a time and the journey they’re embarking on is incredibly special.

Roy credited ‘honest conversations’ with Buttler for helping rediscover his form

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“The initial feeling was, ‘These guys are beyond me.’ But then it’s, ‘Get your head together. You had a great career, if it ends tomorrow, you had a good time.

Roy credits the support of his wife Elle, some ‘honest conversations’ with Buttler and his work with Surrey psychologist Andrea Furst for helping to rediscover the ‘process’ that allows one of cricketers greatest ODI from England to give his best.

“[Get into a] good headspace the day before, the day before, I hit it well, speaking positively of me. Good conversations around the group, helping people. I think it helps me a lot too when I give,” Roy explained. “I don’t think I’ve done this in the last year, I’ve been very inside, worried about myself, and it’s made me break inside with what I’m used to.

“Now I’m enjoying my cricket again, I’m enjoying the surroundings, I’m enjoying where I am. That’s how it should be, I’m playing for England, there’s Nothing better to do. I just needed a bit of reality.

standard Sport

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