Roy in England’s Test squad against Ireland
Jason Roy has been named in England’s Test squad for the first time for the match against Ireland at Lord’s, which starts on 24 July.
Roy scored 443 runs as an opener in England’s triumphant World Cup campaign but is not a regular top-order batsman in red-ball cricket.
Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory has also been called up for the first time. England’s leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson is also included despite injuring his calf earlier in July.
Should he play, Roy is likely to open the batting with Surrey team-mate Rory Burns, who made his Test debut last winter. Fast bowlers Mark Wood and Jofra Archer were not considered for selection because both players have left side strains. Durham’s Wood is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks after injuring himself in Sunday’s World Cup final. A number of England’s World Cup winners rested for the one-off Test against Ireland that has been included in a 16-man pre-Ashes training camp this weekend.
All-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler will not feature at Lord’s, while Archer will have a “period of rest” before being considered for Ashes selection. England and Ireland have never faced each other in a Test. It will be England’s first red-ball match of the home summer, before the Ashes series against Australia begins on 1 August.
England squad for Ireland Test: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes. England squad for pre-Ashes camp: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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With five Ashes Tests in seven weeks, England will be managing their key players carefully. Head coach Trevor Bayliss said earlier in July that Roy was “a definite option” to open against Australia this summer, and England have struggled to find a solid opening pair.
Roy played just two first-class matches for Surrey last season and has opened only a handful of times for the county, often in a run-chase situation. He batted at three in his two appearances for Surrey in 2018 – he has tended to bat at four or five, while team-mate Burns is a regular opener. He averages 38.38 in first-class cricket and has scored nine centuries from 81 matches.
Roy has been named in the squad in place of Keaton Jennings, who opened during the winter but averages 25.19 from 17 Tests. Kent’s Joe Denly looks set to retain his place at three, while Somerset’s Jack Leach and Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali, who was dropped from the World Cup side, are the spin bowling options.