THE MAKING OF A MODERN OPENER: JASON ROY’S STORY | TATA IPL 2023
Born in Durban, South Africa, young Jason Roy moved to England when he was 10 years old with his family. Growing up watching and idolising top order greats like Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting through his formative years, Roy has admirably rosen through the ranks in England’s domestic circuits to become one of the most established openers in the modern game.
Roy started out a child prodigy, playing his school cricket for Whitgit before making his T20 debut for Surrey at the age of 18 in 2008. The same year, Roy was also offered a position at the St. Mary’s University College after clearing his A level exams in Sports Science and Business, but declined the offer to concentrate on his cricketing career. In 2010, Roy made history for Surrey, scoring the first unbeaten century for the English county side in T20 cricket. 2014 was the year he truly emerged, scoring 677 runs at an average of 48.35 to catch the eye of the English selectors who rewarded him with a debut in an one off T20I against India.
The easy on the eye opener who loves taking the game to the opposition bowlers became an integral part of England’s rebuilding process after the debacle they faced in the 2015 World Cup. Then English Skipper Eoin Morgan wanted to reimagine the way the English top order played their cricket and in Roy, they had the perfect exponent for the brand of cricket they wanted to play in limited overs cricket. Roy went to play several career defining innings in the period leading up to the World Cup in 2019 to cement his place in the English limited overs setup. His 180 off 151 balls vs the Aussies in 2018 is still England’s best ever individual score in ODIs. His 256 run partnership with Alex Hales against Sri Lanka in 2016 is also the best ever stand in ODIs for English cricket. Roy was prolific in the 2019 World Cup scoring 153 against Bangladesh early in the tournament before a hamstring injury against the West Indies came as a setback. This was heartbreaking for Roy considering he had been in great form and now he could potentially miss a crucial part of the World Cup. The Englishman went on to make a speedy recovery, returning to action after missing 3 games, scoring half centuries against India and New Zealand to help England qualify for the playoffs. In the semifinal, Jason Roy top scored in the chase vs the Aussies charging his way to 85 off 65 balls which powered England to a 8 wicket victory over their bitter rivals. England would go on to win the World Cup in dramatic fashion with Jason Roy deservedly earning a place in the Team of the tournament.
In 2017, Jason Roy appeared for the Gujarat Lions and incidentally made his debut against KKR. In 15 matches since then Roy has scored 433 runs at an average of 33.31 with a high score of 91*. Roy opted out of the 2022 IPL for personal reasons as 2 years of playing cricket under covid protocols had taken its toll and he just wanted to spend some time away with his family. Roy didn’t make the cut to England’s world cup winning T20 team but returned to action with a solid century against the Proteas before a solid tour away to Bangladesh got him attention from the KKR Think tank.
Roy has taken to his role at the top of the order with scores of 43 and 61 so far looking particularly dangerous in his innings vs CSK at the Eden. The Englishman will look to continue his good run with the bat as the Knights enter the business end of the tournament in a bid to reverse their fortunes.