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Roy retains white-ball focus ahead of Champions Trophy

Jason Roy made 79 off 43 balls with 66 of his runs in boundaries in England's first warm-up match Getty Images

Jason Roy is set to play only white-ball cricket until the end of the ICC Champions Trophy.

Roy, England's limited-overs opener, retains ambitions to play Test cricket. But, with the Champions Trophy identified as one of England's prime goals for the summer, he is likely to be encouraged to concentrate on his white-ball skills until the end of the tournament in June. That means his next first-class match could come in the round of pink-ball games scheduled to be played under lights at the end of June.

While Roy will be required to return from the IPL to play in the two ODIs against Ireland at the start of May, he is expected to be allowed to return to India for another couple of matches as soon as his England duty is over. He will then join the rest of the ODI squad in a training camp in Spain.

He looked in fine form during the opening match of England's Caribbean tour. Murderous against the short ball, he also drove well and improvised effectively against the spinners on his way to 79 from 43 deliveries. And while he did not field due to a bruised hand caused by a succession of tough fielding sessions, he is confident of being fit for Monday's final warm-up match ahead of the ODI series.

"It's definitely difficult getting into different mind-sets," Roy said. "It's not really a technical thing; it's more a mind-set thing. Especially going from red ball to white ball. T20 and 50-over cricket can be quite similar. So just playing white-ball cricket would be beneficial coming into the Champions Trophy.

"Playing Test cricket is in my head. I want to play. I've told the coaches that it's at the forefront of my mind that I want to be playing Test cricket. It's on my radar. I just need to score some runs. Hopefully, I'll get a good volume of white-ball runs and maybe that can push my case later in the year."

Roy hopes to resume his opening partnership with Alex Hales in the coming days. Hales is likely to join the tour party in Antigua after recovering from a hand injury and, while there is still some doubt as to whether he will be fit to play in the ODIs, Roy feels his partner's record warrants a speedy return.

"Hales will probably come straight back in, I would have thought," Roy said. "He deserves that spot. So yes, I'd expect to open with him.

"But competition for places is high. There is a big opportunity for Sam Billings. He is the real deal as well."

Life is pretty good for Roy at present. Enjoying every moment of his first visit to the Caribbean - "I wake up with a smile on my face every morning here," he says - he is also looking forward to his first experience of the IPL and his first global ODI tournament.

"I can't wait for the Champions Trophy," he said. "It's a first Champions Trophy and first major 50-over competition for me so I'm hugely excited. We've such a good team spirit going, so it's really exciting. To win the Champions Trophy would be a hell of an achievement for our group considering where we were a couple of years ago with the World Cup.

"It'll be my first time going to the IPL, as well. It's a huge competition.

"I woke myself up at 4am on the day of the auction and had at look at my phone. It said 'Jason Roy: unsold'. I threw my phone on to the floor and was like, 'I'm just useless'. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get picked up in the second round.

"It's not just about the money. Obviously that's nice, but it's about getting used to playing in front of massive crowds and, being an overseas player, the pressure is on to do well. I'll get to play with and learn from different players. Being in the PSL with Brendon McCullum for a couple of weeks taught me a lot about cricket. These things all provide the foundation blocks for a big tournament."

Billings is also expected to return to the IPL after the Ireland games, but faces a fight to force his way into the Champions Trophy squad. He knows, though, that he can't think about trying to retain his place if he is to bat with the freedom required in modern limited-overs cricket.

"You can't afford to think about repercussions," Billings said. "If you're thinking about keeping your place, you're not concentrating on the ball coming down at you.

"When I play at my best, I'm just expressing myself and taking the attack to the bowlers. I just try to keep as clear mind as possible and just go out and whack it, really."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. He will be covering England's tour of the Caribbean in association with Smile Group Travel, specialists in hosted supporters' packages.