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Opinion

Jason Roy: ‘England are not scared of Virat Kohli’

Root Kohli Brearley
by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

England batsman Jason Roy has insisted that England are not scared of Virat Kohli but that the home side have to find ways of dismissing the India captain early.

Kohli scored 149 and 51 but ended up on the losing side as England defeated India in a thrilling first Test at Edgbaston.

Speaking at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Monday night, Roy was full of praise for Kohli but denied England were afraid of the No.1 Test batsman in the world.

Jason Roy believes England are up for the fight against Kohli

“We’re not scared of him,” said the Surrey batsman, who features regularly in England’s white-ball sides. “He’s obviously a great player, an extremely good athlete, an imposing batsman and an imposing figure on the field. But we have to find ways of dismantling him somehow so we can’t give him too much praise right here.”

In addition, Roy backed the selection of Adil Rashid, who is now back in the Test team despite signing a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire in February.

“I have never once thought that it couldn’t work,” said Roy. “He’s a class bowler and got called up. Why wouldn’t you say yes to that? He got a fair amount of stick and I think that is fair enough, based on the fact that he gave up red-ball cricket. But it’s the selectors’ decision, not mine.”

Jason Roy backed Adil Rashid’s Test comeback

Asked whether a player needs to play first-class cricket to regain form before a Test match, Roy replied, “Form is something that comes from confidence and your mental state.”

The two other post-speech guests at Lord’s featured former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar and Dave Richardson, CEO of the International Cricket Council, who delivered the inspirational lecture.

"What we don’t want is robots, lacking in personality, but equally what we don’t want is ugly behaviour"

David Richardson delivered the 2018 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture

Manjrekar spoke about the phenomenal form of Kohli and feels that his self-belief is what puts him up there with the Indian batting greats. “He’s a very special talent,” he said. “Where I find him different from the other batting greats is his self-belief, his self-confidence.

“I remember when he averaged 13 the last time he was here [in England], the very next Test match was in Australia, Adelaide. He walked out like he was king of Adelaide. His self-confidence does not dip. It takes a lot for that to take a beating, so that’s where he’s special.”

On the subject of the future of Test cricket, Richardson feels that a Test championship is crucial to maintaining the popularity of the longer format. “Day-night Tests will be great but they won’t be the total saviour of Test cricket,” said the ICC chief, who played 42 Tests for South Africa.

“It’s more about how we market Test cricket. It about playing selected weekends, long weekends when people are available to come and watch.

“It’s giving context to Test matches and I’m incredibly excited by the Test league that’s now being introduced. It starts after the World Cup next year. A two-year league, nine teams and at the end of it, the two teams at the top of those tables play each other in a final, probably at Lord’s.”

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