London, Sep 16 (SocialNews.XYZ) Eoin Morgan, England’s 2019 ODI World Cup winning captain, feels right-handed opener Jason Roy’s level of fitness is the biggest concern right now, especially after he missed the side’s 3-1 ODI series win over New Zealand due to back spasms.
In his absence, left-handed opener Dawid Malan has grabbed his chances as opener to the fullest. Malan made 127 in the fourth ODI against New Zealand after making 54 and 96 earlier in the series, and reached 1,000 ODI runs in 21 innings, with his average standing at 61.52.
"The biggest concern now is Roy's level of fitness. He has to play in the Ireland series as you can't sit in a selection meeting with any amount of confidence and pick him for the World Cup at the moment. He has to go through a certain level of game time, recuperation and then possibly another game to try and prove his fitness," said Morgan on Sky Sports.
Roy played under England’s captaincy when they won the Men’s ODI World Cup in 2019 on home soil following a dramatic finale at Lord’s. In August, Roy was named in a squad of 15 that England will take in their quest to defend the trophy in India from October 5 to November 19.
Michael Atherton, the former England skipper, sympathised with Roy’s ongoing fitness concerns, saying that back spasms are difficult to deal with. "I think the (Roy situation) is concerning for a number of reasons, including the lack of 50-over cricket he has had since March, when he did well in Bangladesh."
"He has played a bit of Vitality Blast, a bit of Major League Cricket in America, a bit of Hundred, so this series would have been the opportunity to reacquaint with the rhythms of 50-over cricket which are markedly different to T20, particularly at the top of the order."
"The other concern is the type of injury. I speak from experience when saying back spasms are difficult to deal with because they suddenly come on and when you get them they are in the back of your mind. You don't have full confidence in your body."
Atherton also pointed out that constant traveling in India for the World Cup will help Roy’s case if he retains his place in the squad. "The nature of this tournament in India means you are flying from venue to venue. Every day is a flying day, different hotels, different beds, lots of travel, which is not good for that type of injury. England have yet to name their final squad and, who knows, Roy might not make it."
Roy has not played competitively since the final of The Hundred on August 27 and veteran England pacer James Anderson said to BBC Test Match Special, the opener should be in the squad provided he’s fit to play competitive cricket.
"If Roy is not fit, I'm sure Brook will replace him but if Roy is fit, he definitely goes. I saw Jason Roy on the field (before the match), he was taking high catches and playing with a rugby ball and running around and he looked pretty much pain free."
"For me, he goes into that World Cup squad because I feel like he's played a big enough part over the last couple of years. He's been in decent nick when he has played. (Harry) Brook wasn't in that initial squad and he's not done anything to make me think he has to go."
England will open its 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 campaign against New Zealand in what will be the re-match of the 2019 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5. The ten-team tournament will conclude with the final to be also held in Ahmedabad on November 19.