What’s the story?
England opener Jason Roy could leave Gujarat Lions midway through the IPL. Frustrated at not getting regular opportunities in his maiden franchise, the 26-year old is eyeing a return to Surrey next month to get some 50-over match practice under his belt before the Champions Trophy begins.
In a candid chat with The Daily Mirror, Roy revealed, “I'm discussing with (Director of England Cricket) Andrew Strauss, whether to come back out here to the IPL or to get cracking with Surrey in the Royal London (Cup). I think it is probably a good idea to get my head round 50-over cricket as much as possible especially if I'm not really playing a huge amount out here in India, it is just a bit of a waste really.”
“I'm due to come back for the Ireland game and then after that, I could have three games for Surrey before the South Africa series. So that would be great preparation, I think. I’m in good form, but there is not much I can do about selection. I’m training as hard as I can and I’m taking the positives out it by getting ready for the English season. I’m definitely making the most of it and doing things that will benefit me not just now but over the next couple of months with the Champions Trophy coming up.”
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England are set to host two ODIs against Ireland at the start of next month. As a result, Roy, Sam Billings and skipper Eoin Morgan have been instructed to return home for those two matches. However, the trio is free to decide if they want to come back to India for the latter half of the IPL.
The heart of the matter
Roy has played three matches for Gujarat Lions in this IPL season thus far. In his debut game against Kolkata Knight Riders, the aggressive right-hander was dismissed for a 12-ball 14. However, he bounced back by scoring a 21-ball 31 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. His last appearance came against Mumbai Indians wherein he came in at number six and remained unbeaten on 14.
With Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch taking up three overseas slots in Gujarat’s batting lineup, the team management have looked to use the remaining foreign spot to strengthen the bowling attack. As a result, Roy has not been able to get chances on a consistent basis.
The two ODIs between England and Ireland are slated to be held on May 5 and 7. Going by his own admission, Roy is unlikely to return to India after those couple of games. Hence, he could be unavailable for Gujarat’s last few league matches.
Having already lost all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to a hamstring injury, Gujarat’s bench strength could take a massive hit if Roy does not come back to India. With only four overseas players allowed per side in an IPL match, some of the foreign stars, unfortunately, have to miss out on game time. Hence, his frustration and the accompanying decision to return to Surrey is understandable.