It seemed like England were on the road to another hiding during the innings break of the first ODI in Bridgetown after the Windies had set them a daunting 361 to chase down.
Visits to the West Indies are often easy going and full of enjoyment but it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been the case for this touring English side. Holiday cheer or any sort of festivity has been in short supply for Trevor Bayliss’ team and, after Chris Gayle went berserk with willow in hand, it seemed another hard lesson about complacency was hours away from being learned.
Only this is the number one ODI side in the world whose brave approach to batting in the 50-over format has made them a feared unit the world over. Their belligerent attitude towards the new white ball often has teams spontaneously meeting mid-over to discuss any sort of plan B in order to stop the ball finding the boundary with ease.
Jason Roy has been the catalyst for change in the ODI side since Peter Moores was sacked after the disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign that saw England exit at the group stage. The Durban-born opener has in some ways single-handedly replaced the timid batting style that made England so easily bullied on the international stage and has, instead, led by example with how to best fight with fire.
— Kia UK PR (@KiaUKPR) February 21, 2019
When you look back at how appalling England were at the last World Cup and consider they are now favourites at 2/1, you can see just how effective their bullish ODI approach has been. If punters had any misgivings about England after the Test series loss then this was an emphatic way to remind everyone who is still the wise choice this June.
There’s always a lot of pre-tournament predictions made and many would have been backing India at 5/2 or even 2015 World Cup winners Australia at 11/2, but it’s Bayliss’ men who are streets ahead of all the competition as things stand. Whats more is that they are playing at home which should convince any neutral that they are the men to fear.
Place a bet with Paddy Power on the Three Lions to win the World Cup this summer and receive a free £40 bet to take the edge off any pre-tournament uncertainty. They are the standout team and that’s thanks, in part, to their 28-year-old opener, as illustrated against the Windies.
Roy’s bravado was there for all to see in Barbados as he took the Windies attack apart on his way to making 123 off 85 balls. If Gayle’s knock was impressive, and it most certainly was, it all of a sudden looks quite measured and calculated when you put his strike rate of 104.65 up against Roy’s of 144.71.
Thanks to this swashbuckling display of batting, the Three Lions would win by six wickets and with an incredible eight balls to spare to take the lead in the five-match ODI series.
On this evidence, it seems only fair that Roy is given the chance to bring his style of batting to the Test arena and how badly England need him to as well. The current Test openers for England seem to be perpetually caught in the headlights when the opposition steams in with the new ball and, after so many failures, it’s obvious that they have seized up with fear. The Aussie quicks will be licking their lips at the thought of bowling to Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns during the Ashes and something really needs to be done to shore up the top order.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 26, 2019
Not only will Roy shore up the top order but he will take the attack to the opposition instead of waiting to get out, which seems to be the current problem in the English Test side. Bowlers won’t be able to settle into any rhythm as bad balls will go for four whether it’s the first ball of the day or the last. The English top order has been dictated to for far too long in Test cricket and they are in desperate need of a man who can begin bloodying some opposition noses again.