Jason Roy is expected to be the high-profile omission from England’s T20I squad for next month’s tour of Pakistan, and thereafter the T20 World Cup in Australia in October, after failing to emerge from a season-long form slump.
Roy, 32, was an integral influence within the white-ball dressing-room under Eoin Morgan’s leadership, and a mainstay of the side from the moment of his debut in the wake of the 2015 World Cup. His uncompromising aggression at the top of the order has yielded nearly 5,500 white-ball runs in 171 appearances, including 1,522 at 24.15 and a strike rate of 137.61 in T20Is, and has been crucial in dictating the team’s proactive approach – one that ultimately delivered glory at the 2019 50-over World Cup.
However, Roy has struggled for form this summer, with just 78 runs at 12.66 in six T20Is, and at a subdued strike rate of 77.55. A century in the third ODI against Netherlands in Amstelveen in June boosted his ODI numbers, but he failed to reach fifty in five further appearances against India and South Africa.
England’s T20I squad is due to be announced on Friday. Jos Buttler – Morgan’s successor – is still recuperating from the calf injury he sustained during Manchester Originals’ Hundred captain, and will only come into contention for the second half of the tour, with Moeen Ali likely to deputise at the start of the series. Roy, however, is understood to have informed his Oval Invincibles’ team-mates that he has missed out on selection.
Given the huge regard with which Roy is held in England’s white-ball set-up, he could have rescued his place in the team with a strong showing for Invincibles in this year’s Hundred. However, he began his campaign disastrously with three ducks in four innings, while his haul of 51 runs at 8.50 culminated in a tortuous 21 from 19 balls against Birmingham Phoenix.
He missed Invincibles’ last two matches of the competition after suffering stiffness in his lower back, including Wednesday night’s decisive loss to Originals at Old Trafford, and finds his place in the England squad taken by his domestic opening partner, Will Jacks, whose impressive run of form included a century against Southern Brave. Another of Roy’s Invincibles team-mates, Jordan Cox – a star of Kent’s T20 Blast victory last summer – is also understood to be under consideration as a potential bolter.
Will Smeed, who scored the Hundred’s first century – also against Brave – is another name in the frame but Phil Salt, who opened alongside Roy in the Netherlands, while Jonny Bairstow was on Test duty, is likely to get first crack at replacing him.
Among the current incumbents, Dawid Malan’s stellar returns at the top of the order for Trent Rockets – a tournament-high 358 runs at 59.66 and a strike-rate of 172.11 – are likely to earn him a promotion to open at some stage of the Pakistan tour after his prolonged run at No. 3 in England’s T20I side.
Alex Hales, Malan’s opening partner at Rockets, and a player who has been blackballed by England ever since he failed two recreational drugs tests on the eve of the 2019 World Cup, has also been mentioned for a recall. After several years of impressive displays on the global T20 circuit, Hales this summer became the first English player to pass 10,000 runs in the format.
However, even with Morgan – his most ardent critic – now retired, a rapprochement under the new regime of Buttler and Matthew Mott seems an outside bet. It is understood no discussions have taken place between Hales and the England set-up, and there is little appetite for Hales to be recalled among senior players in the group.
Another likely absentee from the Pakistan squad will be England’s Test captain, Ben Stokes, who retired from ODI cricket this summer in a bid to focus on the other two international formats. His immediate priority, however, is the forthcoming Test series decider against South Africa at the Kia Oval next week, which concludes just days before the team is due to depart for their seven-match tour of Pakistan.
On the bowling front, the uncapped left-arm quick Luke Wood is likely to make his England debut in Pakistan, having been an unused squad member in the Netherlands earlier this year. He has bowled with pace and penetration throughout Rockets’ run to the Hundred final, with nine wickets at 24.33, and is likely to be among an abundance of seam options in an enlarged squad.
Mark Wood, who has missed the whole English summer through injury, is also in line for his comeback and will train with the Test squad at the Kia Oval this week as part of his preparation. The squad to tour Pakistan will be named on Friday morning, with the World Cup squad due to follow on September 16.