Jason Roy: Hard work in nets helped banish ‘darker thoughts’ over left-arm spin

Jason Roy scored a half-century as England chased down 126 to win

Jason Roy admitted he has worked hard to banish “darker thoughts” about facing left-arm spin at the start of his innings after inspiring England to another T20 World Cup victory in Abu Dhabi.

In an effort to stifle big-hitting England openers Roy and Jos Buttler opposition sides have resorted to starting the innings with spin and slow left-armers have done so in both of England’s two tournament games so far.

Deliveries moving away from the bat are known to have caused Roy problems in the past, but he revealed extensively facing left-armer Liam Dawson, one of England’s travelling reserves, in the nets is helping to combat that.

And his recent endeavour was rewarded as he handled the left-arm spin of Shakib Al Hasan and Nasum Ahmed expertly en route to 61 off 38 balls in his 50th T20 international to lead England to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh.

Roy said: “As a batsman, as a cricketer, you always have some darker thoughts going into your mind before the game: What if this can happen, this can happen. But you just have to remind yourself that your training has been so good.

“I think it’s an area of my game I’ve been working extremely hard on – on slow pitches against left-arm spinners, spinners and the angle as such.

“I have worked a hell of a lot against Liam Dawson in the nets. He’s been bowling so much to me which has really helped my game.

“It was a big game for me to go out there and put all the hard work I’ve been doing in the nets into play. I’ve just got to keep reminding myself to do what I do in training, and things will be all right.”

As a batsman, as a cricketer, you always have some darker thoughts going into your mind before the game: What if this can happen, this can happen.

Roy came to the fore after another exceptional collective effort in the field from England, who followed up their blowout of the West Indies for 55 in their tournament opener by restricting Bangladesh to 124 for nine.

Despite the overbearing heat at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in the first T20 international between the sides, Tymal Mills finished with three for 27 while there were two wickets apiece for Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone.

In England’s only day game of the tournament, Roy then broke the back of the chase before falling with 13 required but Dawid Malan’s unbeaten 28 and Jonny Bairstow’s cameo eight not out secured victory with 35 balls to spare.

After England’s second comfortable win from two fixtures, Roy said: “That was a very special match. Obviously we had to back up our last performance against West Indies and we came out firing again with the ball.

“Take nothing away from the bowlers. I don’t think we put too much of a foot wrong. We took our catches and fielded and bowled really well.”

England would not have needed reminding of the dangers Bangladesh can present after being eliminated from the 2015 50-over World Cup by the Tigers, starting the process of a sea change in England’s approach to white-ball cricket.

With Roy and many others in this T20 World Cup squad leading the charge, England went from also-rans to frontrunners in global limited-overs tournaments, and the opening batter believes the experiences the core group have shared in recent years have strengthened them as a side.

Roy said: “Our camp has been together since 2015 and we’ve created bonds outside of cricket and on the field, which I think plays a huge part in travelling the world and playing good cricket.

“We understand our roles in the team as individuals and as team-mates. I know exactly how they are going to perform, and they know how I’m going to perform. There’s a lot of trust, a lot of friendships.

“We are just a confident side that always want to get better.”

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