Bengaluru, July 19: It was not a sudden development. Almost two months before the cricket World Cup kicked off in England, Surrey cricket director Alec Stewart had said that hard-hitting limited-over opener Jason Roy can make a good Test batsman as well. With Keaton Jennings's place under threat, Roy was being backed as one of the openers in the red-ball format.
Stewart had said that Roy's debut Test should be against Ireland starting in a few days' time at Lord's if he had a good World Cup. And with Roy playing a key role in England's win in the championship, now a reward is set on its way in the form of his transition to Tests.
According to Stewart, Roy has a solid technique and besides being a good hitter of the ball, he knows to defend well to and hence the transition didn't seem to be too difficult.
Having made his international debut in September 2014, Roy has played in 84 ODIs and 32 T20Is, making over 4,000 runs across the two formats. He averages almost 43 in ODIs with nine hundreds while his strike-rate in the T20Is is 145-plus. In 81 first-class games on the other hand, Roy averages 38.38 with 4.6k runs and nine hundreds.
Whether Roy succeeds in red-ball cricket or not (he has played just three first-class games since the 2017 season in county and not more than five first-class games in a northern summer in the last three years), the decision to adjust himself in Tests is one of those exciting fallouts of the World Cup win.
His last first-class game was in November last year when he played for England Lions against Pakistan 'A' in Abu Dhabi. He might still get it away against Ireland who will be playing just their third Test against an opposition that has played over 1,000 matches. But will Roy deliver against the Australians in the Ashes starting next month?
The road goes in two directions for Roy from here. England have had issues with their openers over a period of time and according to the Three Lions selectors, this could be the perfect time to make Roy an opener in the longer format, thanks to his terrific run with the bat in the World Cup.
Roy played a crucial role at the business end to see England win the title and after his match-winning 85 against Australia in the second semi-final in Birmingham, the Kangaroos might be a perfect food for him yet again. If Roy can take his limited-over form into the Tests, he could well be another Virender Sehwag playing for England. His ability to score briskly and big could give that much time advantage that Sehwag had often to India in the past.
Roy, like any other big hitter out there, could also go the other way and fail to meet the expectations. But whatever it is, the timing couldn't have been more perfect in playing Roy in the longer format. He is just in that right nick to pass the Test.