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Roy a 'More Complete Player Now' Than Ever Before: Ed Smith

Cricketnext Staff |July 18, 2019, 4:14 PM IST
Roy a 'More Complete Player Now' Than Ever Before: Ed Smith

England National Selector Ed Smith has backed Jason Roy to achieve greater heights in Test cricket insisting the opener is a "more complete player now" than ever before.

Roy, 28, earned a first call-up to the five-day setup as part of a 13-man squad for the one-off Test against Ireland next week at Lord's. The opener had a crucial role to play in England's World Cup winning campaign where he amassed 443 runs in seven innings and was also named in the Team of the Tournament. Smith believed that Roy will have a similar impact on the Test circuit too.

"I think we've all seen him grow and improve as a player in white-ball cricket," Smith said. "There's never been any doubt about his talent, audacity or his presence at the crease - it's fantastic. He's also gained improved mastery and adaptability. I think he's a more complete player now than he ever has been. It just felt like absolutely the right time for Jason to make his Test debut.

"It's no great secret the selectors have long been admirers of Jason. The big question with Jason Roy was when was the ideal time if he was going to make the move into Test cricket? Joe Root and I spoke at length months ago about the scenario in which Jason Roy finished the World Cup confident, full of runs and went straight into the Ashes and that's what we've done. It feels like a really good time for Jason to join the Test team as an opener. He's in and has our full backing."

Smith has been known to take off-field decisions like the one when he drafted Jos Buttler into the Test squad for the India Tests last year despite a below par season in the county circuit. Buttler though repaid the trust shown on him and has since become a regular in the longest format of the game.

Reminiscing the decision, Smith said that it was important to include players into the team when they are full of confidence.

"Going back to that first decision last May when coming in as selector it just felt like exactly the right time for Jos to come back into the Test team," Smith said. "Although I wouldn't compare them because they are very different players and different people, in the same way it feels like the right time for Jason. He's playing very well, growing and developing all the time and it's an exciting prospect for us."

Smith also stressed that despite winning the World Cup, there was no scope for the England players to get complacent with the Ashes on the horizon.

"There is a challenge to build and grow on that rather than to say that is the full stop on the end of the sentence," added Smith. "One thing we really want to do is develop this end of English cricket and not let it peter out but to push on from here.

The same degree of attention, clarity and rigour we tried to bring to World Cup selection, we have also brought to Ashes selection."

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