PAUL NEWMAN: Jason Roy’s form is indicative England’s white-ball slump under Jos Buttler… they must follow the Test team and become ‘rock stars’ to arrest their slide against South Africa at Old Trafford
- Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow’s stand at Durham summed up loss of mojo
- Not too long ago England would have blasted their way ahead of required rate
- Roy has looked in decline since the high of that fabled 2019 World Cup triumph
- Friday’s match against South Africa is also the start of life without Ben Stokes
Nothing summed up the misplacing of England’s white-ball mojo more than the opening stand between the once dynamic pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow in the loss against South Africa in Durham.
On the face of it a partnership of 102 in 19 overs is hardly the worst. But England were chasing 334 on a Chester-le-Street pitch they know becomes harder and harder to score on the longer the game goes on.
Where was their legendary explosive start? Where was the selflessness that characterised England’s rise to become World Cup winners in 2019 under Eoin Morgan? Not too long ago England would have immediately blasted their way ahead of the required rate.
Jason Roy’s form is indicative of the white-ball slump England insist is temporary
Roy, struggling for timing throughout, made 43 off 62 balls in the defeat against South Africa
This was more like old-school one-day cricket, laying a platform and keeping wickets in hand for an increase in momentum that never really came.
Roy, struggling for timing throughout, made 43 off 62 balls while Bairstow, in the Test form of his life before England’s white ball struggles, was not much better in reaching 63 off 71 balls.
The form of Roy, who has looked in decline since the high of that fabled World Cup triumph, is indicative of the white-ball slump England insist is temporary but which they need to arrest, starting in Friday’s second one-day international at Old Trafford.
Roy has been here before and England have reaped the rewards for sticking with him. But a Surrey man who turns 32 on Thursday is running out of time if he is to be part of their Twenty20 World Cup challenge in October, let alone next year’s 50-over World Cup.
Jonny Bairstow, in the Test form of his life, was not much better in reaching 63 off 71 balls
The time is approaching when England need to give an extended chance to Phil Salt
The time is approaching when England need to give an extended chance to Phil Salt at the top of the order, a batter in the fearless mould that has become the norm in England’s white-ball cricket and which needs to return to the 50-over side.
Friday’s match is also the start of life without Ben Stokes in ODI cricket which might give a chance to Sam Curran to cement a regular all-round role while also increasing the importance of Liam Livingstone in the middle order.
Livingstone really is an explosive talent but England have barely seen it yet in 50-over cricket where he has a highest score in 10 games of 66 not out made against the club bowlers of the Netherlands during the early season jaunt to Amsterdam.
Perhaps the most crucial factor in whether this slump is just a ‘perfect storm,’ as Joe Root called it, or a real worry are the fortunes of a new captain in Jos Buttler different in style to his predecessor.
Sam Curran (right) may have a chance to cement a regular all-round role after Ben Stokes’ ODI retirement
Buttler has been outstanding whenever he has stepped in as Morgan’s deputy in the past but very much leads by example and can become a little introverted when things are not going well.
He has to assert himself on what has become his side now along with new coach Matthew Mott, who was thought to be getting one of the cushiest jobs in world cricket but who finds himself having to stop a one-day drama becoming a crisis.
Time to panic? Not yet. But England have to take a leaf out of the Test team’s book and become the ‘rock stars’ Stokes is urging them to be. They need some of the swagger and strut so common in Morgan’s reign. And they need it quickly.
White-ball captain Jos Buttler can become a little introverted when things are not going well
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