England v Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final, Cardiff June 13, 2017

Bairstow 'a chance' to replace Roy - Morgan

ESPNcricinfo staff
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I hope we haven't played our best game yet - Morgan

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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  • HadesLogic on June 14, 2017, 8:55 GMT

    @JMCILHINNEY, I agree that publicly expressed opinion is not the same as the one behind the doors. However, the number of articles that have been published around this topic alone has been so annoying that I had to poke at it :)

  • Manik_mia on June 14, 2017, 7:24 GMT

    Even if JB comes in they should not change any other positions. Let JB open. Even if he fails it does not matter as they played all games with virtually 10 players already. So it should not effect the team.

  • Manik_mia on June 14, 2017, 7:20 GMT

    @jmcilhinney; If wash out ENG will move to final because of original seeding and not on group stage result.

  • harryputtar on June 14, 2017, 2:48 GMT

    @jmcilhinney : I agree with u . Though in cricket anything might happen , my fav final will be India Vs England . Somehow I feel India England rivalry is getting more intense and even contest if you go by predictability .And it's a chance of repeat CT2013 . It might not be a global crowd puller like India Pakistan clash , but it certainly be a keenly followed contest at England . In my opinion ,England batting probably is the best among 8 teams and opponent has to come up with inspired fielding and street smart bowling to undo them. Their bowling other than Wood is suspect .LET THE BEST TEAM WIN.

  • jmcilhinney on June 14, 2017, 2:34 GMT

    @HadesLogic on June 13, 2017, 14:28 GMT

    "LOL, so much for the string of articles from everyone involved giving the 'full backing' to the 'selfless' Roy. All it took was 3 innings and the juggernaut is in full reverse."

    I think you'll find that noone in the England camp has changed their attitude to Jason Roy one bit. Surely you realise that what they say publicly and what they think privately are two different things. If they weren't going to drop Roy then of course they had to give him 100% backing publicly. What good would it have done anyone for them to cast doubt on his ability when talking about his situation? They were probably planning to give him the group stage to regain form and then make the change if required all along.

    "I think Aditya was just trying to impress the value of a major Ind-Pak final (something that has not happened for over 30 years now) based purely on the major earner: ad revenues."

    I hadn't considered that. Makes sense.

  • jmcilhinney on June 14, 2017, 2:24 GMT

    @Snehaa on June 13, 2017, 18:37 GMT

    "what happens if this match is washed out?"

    I don't know for sure what would happen but I do know that only the final has a reserve day, so I would have to assume that England would go through by virtue of having had better group-stage results.

  • jmcilhinney on June 14, 2017, 1:25 GMT

    @Displaced Yorkie on June 13, 2017, 13:59 GMT

    "What happens if JB fails & England win? Will that mean JR is back for the final or will they show same loyalty to JB & give him a run of innings?"

    I think you're being rather melodramatic. There's no way that the selectors would drop Roy and then bring him back after one game and you know it. If they were going to replace Bairstow after one failure (which they wouldn't) then it would be with Billings, not a returning Roy.

    The relevant question is what happens when Roy eventually returns to form. Are they thinking of Roy as the first-choice opener and Bairstow as simply holding the fort until Roy is back or are they really giving Bairstow the chance to make that opener's spot his own? I do hope, for the sake of both Bairstow and the integrity of the selection process, that it is the latter.

  • jmcilhinney on June 14, 2017, 0:56 GMT

    @wpbus13 on June 13, 2017, 14:24 GMT

    "Why not open with Moeen Ali?"

    That occurred to me and I'm sure that it occurred to many others, including the selectors. I guess one problem for them is the fact that everyone has been performing in their current positions so they'd be loathe to move anyone for fear of possibly putting extra pressure on the new batsman and the one who was moved. I have a feeling that Moeen would like prefer to open than bat at #7 but he's scored valuable runs there this season so I think that management would be loathe to move him. It is a possibility though.

  • Snehaa on June 13, 2017, 18:37 GMT

    what happens if this match is washed out?

  • bumsonseats on June 13, 2017, 17:25 GMT

    if J B does get the nod, its sods law that the gods will intervene in his participation. i expect England will be to powerfull for pakistan as we just lately seem to have the wood on them be it home, or UAE

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