England defend decision to drop 'absolutely gutted' Jason Roy for World Cup

Brook preferred to experienced opener for ODI tournament in India

Jason Roy has been dramatically axed from the England World Cup squad. Getty
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England selector Luke Wright has defended their decision to dump Jason Roy on the eve of the World Cup but has admitted it was a "ruthless" call.

The power-hitting opening batter was named in a provisional 15-man squad for next month's ODI tournament in India but is now said to be "absolutely gutted" after his last-minute axing.

Wright says Roy's recent back problems, Dawid Malan's superb form in the series with New Zealand and Harry Brook's strong claims have conspired to leave him out in the cold. It's not the first time Roy has been discarded in such fashion following his late exclusion from last year's T20 World Cup squad.

Roy, a key member of England's 2019 World Cup-winning side, averages nearly 40 in 116 ODI internationals.

Wright said: “As you can imagine, he’s absolutely gutted and I wouldn’t expect anything else. I feel for him, as I feel for anyone you leave out.

“In the early squad we had [Roy] down for opening the batting with Jonny [Bairstow] and Malan giving us cover from No 1 to No 4, [but] we realised things had slightly changed and Dawid would be the one opening the batting with Jonny in the World Cup.

"Then it was a case of the spare batter and what did that look like? From Jason’s point of view, he probably only covers us for an opener. Harry gives us cover from No 1 to No 6. It’s hard to leave out someone with Roy’s pedigree, but also it was so hard to leave out someone with Harry Brook’s talent. They’re really tough decisions and this time Harry’s got the nod.”

Wright confirmed that Roy had turned down the offer to join a second-string side for three upcoming ODIs against Ireland but said the door is still open for the 33-year-old to be involved against the Irish and also to make himself available as an injury reserve for the World Cup.

Roy, however, is reported to be considering his international future.

“We’ve given Jason the option of being involved and he still has the option,” said Wright. “He wasn’t expecting to be in that Ireland squad and then to get the news that he was missing out on the World Cup all came as a bit of a hammer blow. So we’ve left that with him. The first game at Headingley has come too soon but there is still the option of those last two games.

"We’ve made it apparent to Jason that we won’t judge him differently for that position as the spare batter at the top of the order whether he plays against Ireland or not. We’ll work on that one over the next few days.”

Updated: September 18, 2023, 6:27 PM