Netherlands vs England, 2nd ODI
Roy was visibly frustrated, sweeping the air in frustration, but his attempt to reach Aryan Dutt’s fifth boundary and thus kill the chase demonstrated the selflessness that made him such a valuable player alongside ‘Eoin Morgan for the past seven years. years: the team first, then the personal milestones.
At the 2019 World Cup, when his return to the side after a hamstring tear revitalized England’s failing captain, it was a similar story: 66 from 57, 60 from 61 and 85 from 65 in three must-see consecutive games, all dismissed while playing on offense. strokes. “He intimidates the bowlers,” Morgan said after his comeback against India. “He’s a guns player.”
He was certainly intimidating against the Netherlands on Sunday, crossing five boundaries in the first nine balls he faced to advance England on the required rate and remove any semblance of scoring pressure at the start of their pursuit, rushing towards half a century of 43 balls. . By the time he was made redundant, the required rate had fallen to a formality of 4.08 per plus.
He managed just 98 races during this series but, above all, he bought into Eoin Morgan’s vision of a flamboyant approach. “He didn’t score a point,” recalled Paul Farbrace, England’s caretaker coach in that series, “but because he kept attacking, kept playing the right way for his role in the team, it has been maintained.”
Roy has been in and out of form over the years, most notably during the 2017 Champions Trophy when he was pushed aside after poor form and seemed to struggle to regain his place. But his first two innings after Alex Hales’ involvement in the infamous Bristol brawl were 84-of-66 and 96-of-70, and he rarely looked back.
“To be involved with a team like this for 100 games is ridiculous,” he said after Sunday’s game. “Being so happy every time you walk into a locker room and buzz and feel the pleasure is a truly amazing feeling. Whether I had 70 or 0, today would have been an extremely special day.”
Roy received his 100th cap by Moeen Ali during the England caucus and said the speech was “very good”, as he was on the verge of tears. “He’s the perfect guy to give it to you because you’re not judged by your cricket in this group,” Roy said. “You are judged as a person, the energy you bring and the strength you work with. If he went on for another minute there might have been a tear or two but he stopped. just in time.”
His legacy with England’s white-ball setup is personified by Phil Salt, who spoke after Friday’s first ODI about the influence Roy’s approach has had on his career. “He’s a very relaxed guy, he works extremely hard and hits the ball hard,” Roy said. “For him to say that is obviously a great honor but makes me feel old as hell.”
Roy’s 100th cap was a family affair, especially with his cousin Shane Snater in the Netherlands squad. Snater tossed him back with a pincher through the door on Friday – ‘he bought me a drink…it’s water under the bridge,’ Roy said with a smile – and took the side of throwing him back Sunday, but only after being hacked away for two limits.
His wife, Elle, was in Amsterdam over the weekend and was at her cap presentation before heading to nearby Schiphol Airport to catch a flight home, missing her sleeves in the process. “She’s seen enough,” he said. “Extremely proud to have her with my little one to mark the occasion. It was really, really special.”
Roy spent two months at the start of the English summer away from the game and with his family after a mysterious undisclosed misconduct fine earlier in the year, the details of which remain unclear several months later. He declined to comment, but said the incident was not discussed and he benefited from his decision to retire from the IPL and skip the start of the county season.
“Unfortunately I can’t talk about it,” he said, “but it hasn’t been talked about since it all came out. a normal life for a few months. [The break] definitely benefited my game. Mentally, things weren’t going well with me at PSL. I was in a weird place because I played good cricket but I wasn’t having fun, I wasn’t happy and it was just a dark time.
“It was just a good two months to come home and live a normal life for a bit after a tough couple of years with a lot of months away – over 50 days in hotel quarantine the year before and then having a kid in January and spending time away from him was just a little too much.” Luckily for England, he appears to be back to his best side.
Matt Roller is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98