England must embrace World T20 mindset – Roy

Jason Roy, England’s limited-overs opening batsman, says that England’s Test team needs to tap into the mindset that helped propel the T20 side into the final of the World T20 earlier this year, as they prepare for the challenge of facing India on home soil.

England have arrived in Rajkot for Wednesday’s series opener against India, still smarting from their historic defeat in the second Test against Bangladesh last month. With doubts about their spin attack, and several question-marks about a batting line-up that crumbled in the space of a single session at Dhaka, England could hardly be starting the series from a less promising position.

However Roy, speaking at the Chance to Shine annual awards in London, believed that the England squad would have the spirit to take the fight back to India, and urged his team-mates – particularly the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, who starred in England’s World T20 campaign in March – to remember how they turned their fortunes around on their last trip to India.

“I think it’s important to go with the same sort of mindset as we did at the T20 World Cup,” said Roy. “It’s a difficult place to go and play cricket, especially Test cricket, so we can’t have too many preconceived ideas on what we want to achieve. We’ve just got to go out there and do everything we can, everything we know we can do. We’ve got the talent, the skill, the players, I’m sure we’ll be alright.”

England’s World T20 campaign started inauspiciously when they were crushed by the eventual champions, West Indies, in their opening fixture in Mumbai. But they warmed to their task by chasing a world-record 230 to beat South Africa at the same venue, and earned the respect of India’s crowds in the process.

“Those crowds are the most incredible to play in front of,” said Roy. “To see the passion they’ve got for their country, it’s good for us to play in front of that. We can only enjoy it. We can’t go out there and hate it, because we know what’s to come.”

Reflecting on his own involvement in England’s winter campaign, the one-day leg of the Bangladesh tour, Roy admitted that their 2-1 series win had been put into its correct context by England’s subsequent difficulties in the Test series.

“We know now they are a top quality side,” he said. “We played some very good cricket, it’s not always easy to go there and win, as we’ve seen in the past, and the ODI series was a good benchmark for us, I think.”

The build-up to the Bangladesh tour had been dominated by security issues, with Roy’s opening partner, Alex Hales, choosing not to travel, along with England’s regular one-day captain, Eoin Morgan. And in spite of the success enjoyed by Hales’ understudies, in particular Ben Duckett and Sam Billings, both of whom starred in the series decider, Roy was adamant that Hales would not be made to regret his choice.

“Based on what we got told before the tour, there’s nothing wrong with him not going on the trip,” he said. “He’s been training hard and putting the hard work in, he’s obviously got the numbers that suggest he deserves that spot, so I don’t think there will be any hard feelings. There certainly aren’t within the squad.

“But it’s a huge positive that we’ve got so much depth now in one-day cricket, so many players who can just go in there and play, and that’s a huge credit to the start-up systems and the England Lions. It’s all exciting stuff for the future now.

“Security wasn’t a problem at all, we were looked after incredibly well. The hospitality at the hotels, by the Bangladeshi side and by everything around the cricket, was fantastic.

Jason Roy was speaking at the Chance to Shine Annual Awards, supported by Lycamobile. ECB will double its investment in the charity, from 2017, to inspire millions of young people to play and learn through cricket. Visit chancetoshine.org

(ESPNcricinfo)

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