Eoin Morgan has indicated that Jonny Bairstow is likely to replace the out-of-form Jason Roy for England’s Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan at Cardiff. Roy has endured a run of low scores and, despite being backed by the management, appears set to lose his place.
Morgan would not confirm England’s XI to take on Pakistan but said he would have “no worries” asking Bairstow to open the batting – something he has not previously done in international cricket.
“There’s a chance that we could make a change,” he said, “obviously we don’t announce the team until the toss – but there’s a chance there could be a change. I mentioned after the last game that we’re getting to the business end of the tournament and we need to produce results, so it’s important that we get what we feel is our best XI to win the tournament out tomorrow in order to win the game.”
Roy has averaged 6.37 from eight ODI innings so far this season, with six single-figure scores. Bairstow, by contrast, has scored three fifties in his last four innings, when deputising for others in the top order. Although he has only opened the batting eight times in List A cricket, he did make his highest score of 174, for Yorkshire against Durham last month, from that position.
“Jonny’s qualities are that he’s a fantastic batsman,” Morgan said. “I think his best attribute, certainly in white-ball cricket over the last year and a half, has been his relentless attitude to score runs regardless of the situation. When you have guys sitting on the sidelines they can get a little bit upset and that can affect their performance when the actual chance comes along, but that doesn’t seem to affect Jonny.
“One innings he did play for us won us a series, against New Zealand, a match-winning knock up at Durham two years ago – and that sort of sums him up, he came from playing for Yorkshire, straight into the squad having played no part in the series, and he produces a match-winning knock. So I think his all-round ability is as good as we have in the squad. But, like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a very difficult team to get into and you’ve just got to wait for your chance.
“I’d have no worries if he has to open the batting. I certainly believe we’re in a good position at the moment as a batting unit and if Jonny does get the opportunity, I’m sure he’ll take it with both hands.”
Roy has formed a productive opening partnership with Alex Hales since they were brought together after the 2015 World Cup. They put on an unbroken 256 against Sri Lanka last year – setting a new England record – but so far this season have averaged 14.50 together, with a best of 49 against Ireland.
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