Jason Roy has been given the opportunity to rescue a difficult year after being recalled by England.
The Surrey dasher was left out of the ongoing T20 World Cup following a prolonged slump in form but has been brought back for the three match one-day international series in Australia later this month.
Even more than most players, Roy has had ups and downs in his career, the highlight being his integral role in helping England to the 50-over World Cup in England three years ago.
He made 443 runs at 63 despite missing two matches and was regarded as an automatic selection at the top of the order.
But the past 12 months have seen him struggle for form in both white ball formats, looking a shadow of the player who has scored ten ODI centuries, including his country’s highest of 180, and frequently shredded attacks.
When the 32-year-old was omitted from the T20 World Cup side – preceded by seven games in Pakistan – there were soothing words from Rob Key, the managing director of England cricket.
He explained: “The game’s about confidence as much as anything else. If Jason finds that again, he is one of the best openers around.
“He was obviously very disappointed but he needs the chance to show that he is not finished in international cricket, which none of us feels he is. He is a fantastic player.”
It has certainly been a mixed year for Roy, who became a father for the second time in January. But he spent several months away from the game after admitting a charge of “conducting himself in a manner which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring cricket, the ECB and himself into disrepute”.
That earned him a two-match ban, suspended for 12 months.
Returning to action in late May, Roy struggled for his usual fluency in making 281 runs from nine innings for Surrey in the T20 Vitality Blast and scored only 51 runs in six innings for the Oval Invincibles in the Hundred, while his past 11 international innings have seen a best score of 43.
There was more bad news last month when Roy lost his ECB central contract, instead receiving a lower incremental deal.
England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler hailed Roy, though, as “a vital player for England moving forward” and he will join up with Surrey colleagues Sam Curran and Chris Jordan in the 15-man squad for a series which features matches in Adelaide on November 17, Sydney two days later and Melbourne on November 22.
A revival in form would put him in a strong position to book a place for next year’s defence of the World Cup.
By Richard Spiller