Former captain Kevin Pietersen has implored England to back batsman Jason Roy, despite a challenging lack of form in the ongoing Ashes series in the United Kingdom.
Roy, like Pietersen, was born in KwaZulu-Natal before moving to England to forge an international career.
The hard-hitting right-hander has relished a relatively prolific period at limited-overs level, including several significant contributions at the 2019 World Cup and a masterful 180 against Australia in last year’s first ODI in Melbourne.
He has struggled to convert that success to Test cricket, though, and has a mere 57 runs to show for six innings in the Ashes series so far.
‘I want to back Jason. The way that he played was why he was picked. I did exactly the same. At the start of my international career, I was chucked into the bullring in Johannesburg in South Africa and I had to prove my mettle in a high-pressured environment in ODI cricket,’ Pietersen wrote in a column for Betway.
‘Roy has just come off a World Cup where he was fantastic. He has played some beautiful innings in the one-day team – particularly that 180 at Melbourne in 2018 – and has had fantastic success in ODI cricket.
‘In his first Test match against Australia, Roy was picked to play the way he plays. David Warner plays that way, Chris Gayle plays that way. Virender Sehwag played that way. It would be very, very dangerous to start trying to change the way that Roy plays.’
Prior to last week’s third Test at Headingley in Leeds, where England won by one wicket on the back of a sensational century from all-rounder Ben Stokes, Trevor Bayliss suggested a move to the middle order for opener Roy. He, however, was retained at the top and perished for nine and eight.
‘I don’t want to see Roy, being the player that he is, walk out there and think that he has got to defend. He’s going to get out. The way he plays, it’s going to look ugly at times,’ added Pietersen.
‘But, with the right captaincy, the right backing, and the media getting off his back, I’m sure he’ll succeed because he’s so bloody good.’
Whether Roy is kept at the top of the order, moved to the middle or dropped from the XI for the fourth Test, which will start at Old Trafford in Manchester on 4 September, remains in the balance.
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