Key: I couldn't risk selecting out of form Roy for the World Cup

‘We would’ve been taking a gamble’: England chief Rob Key admits he couldn’t risk selecting out of form batter Jason Roy for the Twenty20 World Cup despite suffering an injury crisis ahead of the tournament

  • Jason Roy’s omission down to hitting dismal form at the ‘worst possible time’
  • However, Rob Key insists it’s not the end of the 32-year-old’s career with England
  • England could now select Dawid Malan to open at the World Cup in Australia  

Rob Key says England were unable to take a World Cup gamble on Jason Roy but insists he still has a future in international cricket.

Roy was the big name omission on Friday when managing director Key named a 15-man squad for the Twenty20 tournament next month after the Surrey opener had suffered a sustained run of dismal form ‘at the worst possible time.’

But Key believes there is enough white-ball cricket around the world for Roy, at 32, to force his way back and believes he could still play a part, in particular, in the 50-over side.

Jason Roy has been omitted from England’s squad ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup

‘This was the one we spent most time on,’ said Key after what he described, with so many injured players, as a ‘fiddly selection’. ‘It’s unfortunate timing for Jason because he’s hit a bad patch at the wrong time. He’s obviously very disappointed. I think gutted was the word he used. He just wanted to make sure this wasn’t the end.’

Key is adamant that’s not the case but is frustrated he does not feel able to give Roy, one of the most important players in England’s white-ball transformation, one final chance to find his form in the seven-match tour of Pakistan that precedes the World Cup.

‘The latest we could announce the World Cup squad was September 16 so it wasn’t like we could use Pakistan because that starts later,’ said Key. ‘We’d be taking a gamble on Jason finding form in time. So it just leaves him in a place where he has to go and find form.

Chief Rob Key admits he couldn’t gamble on the out-of-form batter for the tournament

‘The game is about confidence and if he has that again he is still one of the best openers around. I certainly don’t think this is the end. I would argue the 50-over format is his strongest suit and we still see him as very much part of this set-up.’

Ben Stokes will bat at four with Key wanting to find a role that gets the best out of him in T20 cricket.

England will also be without Jonny Bairstow who pulled out injured on Friday.

But Key insists they discussed another opening option in the form of the ostracised Alex Hales after the Notts batter, banished by former captain Eoin Morgan over trust issues ahead of the 2019 World Cup, contacted him to ask why he was still not getting a chance.

England’s injury crisis ahead of the World Cup includes the experienced Jos Buttler


England’s World Cup squad

Buttler (captain), Moeen, Bairstow (withdrew injured), Brook, S Curran, Jordan, Livingstone, Malan, Rashid, Salt, Stokes, Topley, Willey, Woakes, Wood.

Travelling reserves: Dawson, Gleeson, Mills

England’s T20 Pakistan tour squad 

Buttler (captain), Ali, Brook, Cox, Curran, Duckett, Dawson, Gleeson, Helm, Jacks, Malan, Rashid, Salt, Stone, Topley, Willey, Woakes, L Wood, MA Wood. 

‘Alex rang me to argue about why he wasn’t there and quite right too,’ said Key. ‘I much prefer it when people pick up the phone and say “come on then, why haven’t you picked me?” Alex’s name was mentioned a lot in our talks but we felt Jonny is the best opening partner for Jos Buttler in the World Cup.’

Key admits, with Buttler, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone all still out, England have ‘an injury cloud’ hanging over them ahead of this World Cup.

But they have packed their 19-man squad for Pakistan with ‘bench strength’ in the likes of Will Jacks, Tom Helm and Jordan Cox to provide alternatives should any of the injured players not recover in time for Australia in October and November.

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