Jason Roy pulls out of IPL 2022, will take 'indefinite break' from cricket
England batter, who was signed by Gujarat Titans, opts to spend time with young family
England batter Jason Roy has pulled out of IPL 2022 citing the challenge of staying in the tournament bubble for an extended period. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Roy, who was signed by Gujarat Titans for his base price of INR 2 crore (USD 266,000) at the auction, informed the franchise of his decision last week. The Titans are yet to finalise a replacement.
Roy, 31, recently had a good outing in PSL 2022, which was also played within a biosecure bubble, where, despite playing just six matches, he was among the top batters in the tournament as well as the leading run-getter for the Quetta Gladiators, who finished fifth in the six-team league. Roy scored 303 runs at an average of 50.50 and a strike rate of 170.22, scoring two fifties and a hundred - enough for him to finish second on the list of tournament MVPs on the basis of ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats.
"With everything going on in the world over the last 3 years, it's added up and taken a toll on me," Roy said as part of a longer message on Instagram. "I feel it's only right I spend some quality time with my family. As well as spending time working on myself and my game over the next couple of months leading in to a busy year."
Surrey released a statement on Tuesday confirming that Roy would not play for them in the early stages of the County Championship season - which runs concurrently with the IPL - and said that he would instead take "a short indefinite break from the game to spend time with his family".
"There is currently no fixed date for Jason's return to cricket but he will remain in contact with the club during this period, with staff keen to assist him where possible," the statement said.
Alec Stewart, Surrey's director of cricket, added: "Everyone at Surrey is here to support Jason and fully understands his decision to step away from the game for a period of time in order to be with his family. When he is ready to return to cricket, we will be here ready to help and prepare him for his upcoming challenges in the game."
This is the second time Roy has decided to not to play the IPL after finding a team at the auction. In 2020, Delhi Capitals picked up Roy for his then base price of INR 1.5 crore, but he opted out for personal reasons.
The IPL this time will be a 10-team event and will take place in Mumbai and Pune during the league phase. Teams will operate out of a bubble through the season, although the IPL is yet to share the guidelines and protocols with the franchises.
If Roy were to be in the bubble throughout the IPL, he would probably need to be away from his family - which includes his second child who was born in January - for more than two months, with the tournament set to begin on March 26 and end with the final on May 29.
Roy is not the first player to pull out of the IPL citing bubble fatigue during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put severe restrictions on movement in the last two years. Several players have withdrawn from the IPL in the past, both before the start of seasons as well as during the tournament, citing a need to keep themselves fit, especially mentally, for marquee bilateral series and World Cups. As it happens, the T20 World Cup will be played in Australia in October-November 2022.
Titans would have been the fourth franchise Roy would have played for in the IPL, having earlier represented Gujarat Lions (2017), Delhi Daredevils (2018) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (2021). He went unsold at the 2021 auction but was drafted in as a replacement for the Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh. Overall, Roy has scored 329 runs in 13 IPL matches at an average of 29.90 and a strike rate of 129.01, including two half-centuries, which came in his respective team debuts for the Daredevils and the Sunrisers.
March 1, 2022, 1215 GMT - This story was updated to include Roy's social media post and Surrey's statement.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo