Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England opener Jason Roy is brimming with excitement ahead of the Champions Trophy as it will be the first major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament he has participated in.
Roy is currently in the Caribbean for a short three-match ODI series against the West Indies, but his mind is already fixated on the Champions Trophy in June.
The 26-year-old has been in great form as of late and hopes to maintain his momentum going forward, but the main goal for him is to see England triumph at the event, especially as it will be held in their own backyard.
“I wake up with a smile on my face every morning here,” he said. “I can’t wait for the Champions Trophy.
“It’s a first Champions Trophy and first major 50-over competition for me so I’m hugely excited. We’ve such a good team spirit going, so it’s really exciting. To win the Champions Trophy would be a hell of an achievement for our group considering where we were a couple of years ago with the World Cup.”
Prior to the Champions Trophy, Roy will also be involved in his first-ever Indian Premier League (IPL) after being bought by the Gujarat Lions for INR 1 crore.
“It’ll be my first time going to the IPL, as well. It’s a huge competition,” he added. “I woke myself up at 4am on the day of the auction and had at look at my phone. It said ‘Jason Roy: unsold’. I threw my phone on to the floor and was like, ‘I’m just useless’. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get picked up in the second round.
“It’s not just about the money. Obviously that’s nice, but it’s about getting used to playing in front of massive crowds and, being an overseas player, the pressure is on to do well. I’ll get to play with and learn from different players. Being in the PSL with Brendon McCullum for a couple of weeks taught me a lot about cricket. These things all provide the foundation blocks for a big tournament.”
Meanwhile, Roy also revealed that he harbours hopes of playing Test cricket one day, but he has shifted that dream to the side for the moment in order to focus on the large amount of limited overs cricket that stands in his way over the next few months.
“It’s definitely difficult getting into different mind-sets,” Roy said. “It’s not really a technical thing; it’s more a mind-set thing. Especially going from red ball to white ball. T20 and 50-over cricket can be quite similar. So just playing white-ball cricket would be beneficial coming into the Champions Trophy.
“Playing Test cricket is in my head. I want to play. I’ve told the coaches that it’s at the forefront of my mind that I want to be playing Test cricket. It’s on my radar. I just need to score some runs. Hopefully, I’ll get a good volume of white-ball runs and maybe that can push my case later in the year.”
As for the ODI series against the West Indies, which starts on March 3, Roy is hoping to open the batting with Alex Hales, but it remains to be seen if that comes to fruition.
Hales travelled to Antigua after recovering from a broken bone in his right hand, but there are doubts about whether he is fit enough to play the three-match series.
“Hales will probably come straight back in, I would have thought,” Roy said. “He deserves that spot. So yes, I’d expect to open with him.
“But competition for places is high. There is a big opportunity for Sam Billings. He is the real deal as well.”
Billings, meanwhile, acknowledged that it will be tough for him to retain his spot in the ODI squad for the Champions Trophy. But, he has pushed that thought out of his mind in order to play with the freedom and aggression that he needs to excel in limited overs cricket.
“You can’t afford to think about repercussions,” Billings said. “If you’re thinking about keeping your place, you’re not concentrating on the ball coming down at you.
“When I play at my best, I’m just expressing myself and taking the attack to the bowlers. I just try to keep as clear mind as possible and just go out and whack it, really.”