Jason Roy is the propeller England have come to rely on to speed their ship of batting prowess, which has been travelling at an unprecedented rate of knots in recent times. He has led the way in several 300-plus scores, tall chases, England's World T20 runners-up campaign and quickly added two half-centuries in the ODI series against India.
What he rued, though, amid all these achievements, was not being able to covert innings of 73 and 82 into bigger scores as England came close to winning both matches but now trail 2-0 before the third and final ODI in Kolkata. A pair of destructive centuries - such as the 112 off 95 balls and a personal best 162 off 118 he made in the space of three ODIs against Sri Lanka at home last summer - could have made all the difference.
"On both occasions I needed to stay in and get big hundreds," Roy said of his innings in Pune and Cuttack. "I should have done that, that was the plan. It didn't work out that way but our batting unit got us to 350 and 370. I'm never happy with just a good start. A good start is a good start but winning games is obviously at the forefront of my mind so I've got to be a bit disappointed to be getting out at 70 and 80."
England benefited from his crisp strokeplay and fluency against the new ball, something India's openers have been unable to do at home against the attack led by Chris Woakes. It was with a similar approach in the same conditions that Roy last year set the tone for their unexpected march to the World T20 final. But against eventual champions West Indies, he fell for a duck in the first over. Now, back in Kolkata, Roy said he was facing contrasting feelings.
"Yeah, a mixed bag really," he said. "Obviously, being in the final was incredible and then disappointment after the game. But good to be back, obviously it's a dead rubber but we've got to stamp our mark on India a little bit.
"Every game from now until the Champions Trophy is going to be stepping blocks for us going into that huge competition. We've got a huge amount of positives to take from the last few games. Although we got outplayed, we've put in some seriously good performances. The positives to come out of that are amazing."
Roy will be without his regular opening partner Alex Hales again, just as he was in Bangladesh, and is likely to be accompanied by Sam Billings, who scored 93 in the first warm-up match on arrival in India after collecting useful runs in the Big Bash League, where he shared a dressing room with Roy for the Sydney Sixers. Billings was used in the middle order by the Sixers but opened on his previous appearance for England, in Chittagong, and Roy was quick to sing his praises.
"We have batted together a couple of times, played against each other a lot," Roy said. "He's a fiery batsman, an awesome player. If he gets the role of No. 2, that's great. He's a great guy to bat with - runs hard, plays strong shots and that's exactly what we look for at the top of the order, just to set the tone."
Roy also stated having back-up openers and depth in the middle order was the added advantage England possess now that has helped them register "good performances" over the last two years.
"Obviously, when you've got that kind of competition in the squad it's always healthy," he said. "You want to be pushed. You always want to be bettering yourself. You want to be turning up in training with the kind of new idea what you want to work on, your shots and kind of really testing yourself mentally. So yeah we've got a very healthy squad.
"I've spent a lot of time with Halesy and the work we do in the nets and all that sort of stuff but we've got other options in our squad. That's what makes us so special, I think. It's just a case of getting to know each other and I know everyone in the squad pretty well, so whoever I'm opening up with is not a problem. He'll fit straight in. You saw over in Bangladesh, when I was unavailable for that one game and two [new] opening partners went out there and played very well."
England will now be hoping to register a win in the third ODI to carry some confidence into the three-match T20 series and Roy said they would have to improve in one particular aspect to turn things around. "We've got to work on our fielding," he said. "I think we've been below standard."