Jason Roy is tinder

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2 minute read

Not so long ago, England were claiming that they had little regard for par scores any more. Henceforth, their only target was to be ‘as many as we can get’. Maybe this is still the case, but today’s batting against the West Indies seemed initially cautious to these sometimes blurry eyes.

We had in mind a rather worrying interview with Jason Roy we read last week, in which he said: “I’ve got to realise I need to give myself time – I’m not a robot.”

It seemed unfair on robots that they shouldn’t be permitted time, but that wasn’t what really concerned us. We were more worried about Roy spending any time at all playing himself in. Jason Roy may well need to give himself time, but that is almost exactly what England don’t need.

Roy’s job is to flail from the off, because Alex Hales can’t. If Roy eats up a dozen balls making a similar number of runs, that isn’t really good enough. It’s a fifth of the innings wasted, because Hales will more often than not be doing the same. Hales has earned the right do that. That’s his way. He is the big log England are looking to ignite. In this analogy, Jason Roy is basically just tinder.

That may seem dismissive, but the truth is that this is essentially England’s strategy. They have ten batsmen, only two or three of whom are special. The rest are disposable; fast-burning kindling. A to-hell-with-the-consequences approach at the top of the order is barely even a gamble because the only consequences are to the individual – the team can easily cope with his loss.

In contrast, Chris Gayle is the West Indies’ Hales. And then some.

Gayle is Alex Hales having played hundreds more international matches and twice as much T20. He is an Alex Hales who’s faced every T20 situation and played T20 in every ground. He is an Alex Hales shot-through with experience and shorn of doubt.

Gayle knew that 183 could be chased in Mumbai. All he had to do was go out and do it.


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  1. I nodded off. I tend to nod off during T20 matches these days.

    Perhaps my age.

    Perhaps the predictability of the darn things more often than not after just a few overs of the team batting second’s innings.

    It could have been worse. I might have been at the office in front of my screen. But on this occasion I got home in time to:

    …see the denouement/promptly nod off [delete where applicable]

    Friday might be more embarrassing given my meeting schedule, the match timing and my propensity to nod off.

  2. Reading the headline I assumed the article was going to be about how he just swipes left or right…

    1. he swipes to the left
      he swipes to the right
      hey baby—don’t blush
      let’s have drinks tonight

  3. “I’ve got to realise I need to give myself time – I’m not a robot.”

    Surely one of the defining characteristics of robots is that those who are in any sense self-aware tend not to be aware that they are in fact robots. I mean, obviously robotic ones like Marvin or Hal would only have to look in a mirror to know they’re a robot, but human-like ones definitely tend to think they’re human. That’s especially true if they’ve had memory implants from some bloke’s niece.

    I’m not suggesting that he is a robot, only that he isn’t the best person/robot to know that. He is playing the form of the game best suited to robotic batting. Then again, who ever heard of an artificial biological robot called Roy?

    1. “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe – Bowling attacks on fire off the shoulder of Orion, I watched Day-Night Tests glitter in the dark near the Grace Gate. …”


      1. I think they’ve been reading this thread. From Cricinfo, ball 1:

        Rabada to Roy, FOUR,, bosh! Roy plants his foot, swings his arms and smacks it over the top. That’s the spirit.


        Six, seven, go to hell or go to heaven…

  4. Basically, in T20 cricket your Not-The-Top batsmen are disposable but your balls aren’t. So England management should really be encouraging them to just smash it.

    Given England’s typical selection policies in these affairs, though, it is rather hard to encourage said players to go out there and play without fear (of being dropped).

    1. The odd thing is that Roy has generally adopted the just-smash-it approach and England have persisted with him. Not sure why this sudden desire to do things differently.

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