Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

ICC Champions Trophy: Jonny Bairstow set to replace Jason Roy for England

Rita Gibson | 14 June, 2017, 12:08

England are considering changing their top order for the Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan, captain Eoin Morgan said on Tuesday, indicating that they will replace out-of-form opener Jason Roy with Jonny Bairstow.

26-year-old Roy has made only 51 runs in his past eight one-day internationals.

Although captain Eoin Morgan stopped short of confirming the change in Cardiff today, the sight of Bairstow playing a full part in practice while Roy watched on forlornly told its own story.

However, with Jonny Bairstow waiting in the wings and in good nick, it seems as though the selectors have finally taken the option to give the Yorkshireman the nod to face the Asians. The Test gloveman, deployed as a specialist batsman, struck half-centuries against South Africa and Ireland in bilateral series last month and he also scored a brilliant 174 as an opener for Yorkshire in the domestic one-day tournament.

England have previously insisted that players would be allowed to bat themselves back into form.

"You've got to play as if everything is on the line - that's the nature of this tournament", Morgan said. Obviously, we won't announce the team until the toss, but there's a chance there could be a change.

"Jonny's qualities are that he's a fantastic batsman", Morgan said.

"And if that means somebody misses out, it's unfortunate, but for the team's sake, we need to get results".

Bairstow's record when being parachuted into the team is also impressive, right back to his debut in Cardiff during the 2011 series against India when he hit an unbeaten 41 off 21 balls to win the match.

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"I think his best attribute, certainly in white-ball cricket over the previous year and a half, has been his relentless attitude to score runs regardless of the situation", Morgan said.

"He comes in and wants to prove everyone wrong the whole time, it's been a huge attribute in him scoring runs when he has had a chance", added the skipper.

"I think his all-around ability is as good as we have in this squad".

Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan coach, insisted he wasn't playing mind games when he said his team had been very wary about facing Roy and made mention of the difference between domestic and worldwide level.

The only uncertainty for Morgan is what to do at the toss with England's preference for chasing under scrutiny due to a used Cardiff pitch and the memory of uneven bounce the later the match against New Zealand went on.

"I'd have no worries if he has to open the batting".

"One innings he did play for us which won us a series was against New Zealand in sort of a match-winning knock up at Durham last year - actually, two years ago, and that sort of sums him up".

However, that backing has softened in the light of Roy's repeated failures and Morgan, fresh from his impressive 87 in England's group win over Australia, indicated Tuesday the team could not afford to "carry" anyone as they went in search of a first major ODI tournament triumph. "If somebody does get left out, they're not going to be far from our plans". "If he's not playing, that wouldn't be too bad", the Pakistan coach laughed.

But Arthur knows his team are likely to need their best performance of the tournament so far if they are to reach Sunday's final at The Oval.

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