Improving Rashid benefitting from consistent selection as explosive Roy takes game – and England – to new level

Chris Tremlett
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Roy struck his second century of the series at the Kia Oval on Wednesday (Source: Getty)

England's displays over the last week or so have provided further evidence that their disastrous World Cup showing less than 18 months ago was nothing short of a blessing in disguise.

My former Surrey team-mate Jason Roy was one of the beneficiaries of a change of management and mindset within the England camp. Regular readers will know how much I rate him, particularly in white-ball cricket.

It takes time to adjust to the international game but two centuries in a week against Sri Lanka, his second a match-winning and series-clinching ton at the Kia Oval on Wednesday, showed me he’s hit a new level.

He struck 162 from 118 deliveries – only five runs shy of the highest ever score by an English batsman in a one-day international, a record set by Robin Smith in 1993 against Australia.

We have long known that Roy is an explosive opener in limited-overs cricket but the 25-year-old looks more and more comfortable in showing the world what he can do.

England batsmen have taken plenty of plaudits recently – Roy and Alex Hales struck a record opening stand of 256 at Edgbaston last Friday – but I would also like to highlight the progress of leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

The Yorkshireman claimed 2-57 in the fourth ODI on Wednesday, while in the opening two tussles of the series he only conceded 70 runs in his 20 overs.

For a long time he was on the periphery of the England set-up, having made his white-ball international debut in 2009, but he is proving a very solid performer in those middle overs. He is a mainstay of the side now and, speaking from experience as someone who was a fringe player for a long time, that security can only be constructive.

When you don’t really know where you are, you end up going back to play county cricket and trying far too hard. If your form stutters there can be a tendency to start thinking about your own individual game rather than the team’s performance, and that’s not what you want.

When you know your position is safe and you have confidence in the consistency of selection, you have a greater sense of freedom. I’d imagine that Adil, along with other members of the side, are benefitting from that.