Marcus Hook’s Surrey CCC column: Jason Roy is vital to England’s World Cup hopes

BY MARCUS HOOK

Just as I was about to sit down and start writing my copy, I had to go back to the sofa and savour Jason Roy helping Jonny Bairstow take the Pakistan attack apart at Bristol.

Second to Surrey winning the County Championship is seeing Surrey players do the business for England. Roy is different gravy, when he gets in; which, to his credit, he’s now doing a lot more regularly at international level.

In his early days at Surrey he played like a millionaire. I’ll never forget one occasion at Guildford when he joined Ricky Ponting at the crease, with five overs to go in the day and Surrey in deep trouble.

The two got together and had a chat. Ponting did most of the talking. With five balls left to negotiate, Jason’s eyes lit up and he smacked Warwickshire’s Keith Barker straight to the man at cover.

Ponting turned on his heels and set off vigorously in the direction of the pavilion, not even bothering to wait for Roy. To body language experts had the former Australia captain taken any other course of action he might have done something he would end up regretting.

Wind forward six years and Roy and Bairstow have now shared in seven 100-plus opening partnerships in ODI cricket. The next most productive first-wicket pair for England were Nick Knight and Marcus Trescothick, who notched up four together.

Be in no doubt, Roy will be a key player in the World Cup. But one man who sadly won’t is Sam Curran. The 20-year-old has only made two ODI appearances, the last one back in October. His time will come around again when Test cricket makes its first appearance of the summer, at the end of July.

Before then Sam faces an unbroken diet of championship cricket – or he would if England didn’t insist on him being rested, just when Surrey are crying out for fully fit players.

If someone can explain the logic of wrapping him in cotton wool at this point in the season, I’m all ears, especially as there’s a school of thought that Sam isn’t guaranteed a place in England’s Ashes Test team.

Assuming everyone is fit, I’m convinced England will go with a seam attack of Anderson, Broad, Wood and Stokes, with the next cab on the rank being Archer.

I hope Sam Curran does sneak in, because he is the future; as is his Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes – now there’s another example of form counting for less than the “balance” England’s head coach Trevor Bayliss keeps talking about.

Anyway, I’d better stop there before I make a case for England picking any more Surrey players, because the Oval outfit will need them if they are to retain their County Championship crown.

On the evidence so far, for instance the likes of Somerset finding an extra gear, that could be a taller order than many of us were expecting.