Roy’s 79-ball hundred was his 11th century in ODIs, but his first against a Full Member nation since the 2019 World Cup, and although it was the first victory for England in their tour opener in South Africa If that wasn’t enough, it may well have turned his chances of helping India defend their 50-over title in India later this year.
He hit 11 fours and four sixes as he passed fifty in an England shirt for the first time in 15 innings, dating back to the Netherlands tour in June 2022. With the teams returning on Sunday for the second ODI, also in Bloemfontein, Roy admitted that his personal satisfaction, for once, was greater than the frustration of defeat.
“I feel great,” he said the morning after the match. “I didn’t sleep really well – I had about five hours of sleep. I was a bit overcome with some emotions and things like that, it’s been a turbulent few months. I woke up really well, though, It was the best I’ve had five hours of sleep.
“Yeah, it was a little bit icky around everything, just because I kind of set everything in the back of my mind and locked some things in a cupboard and went out and played the way I played my whole career. and what i played i haven’t played in the last few [of years], I was disappointed I hadn’t gotten into that mindset earlier but it was a great feeling.”
Unlike their preparations for the 2019 World Cup, England have limited opportunities for India to improve their team. The upcoming tour of Bangladesh provides their last chance for 50-over practice until September, when New Zealand and Ireland visit for three ODIs each.
Roy, however, feels that a return to form against South Africa is no guarantee of selection for the World Cup.
“No, not at all, not at all, I don’t see it that way,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of games in my career, been around for a while now and even after one bad year you can forget very quickly. It’s a case of pushing to keep this environment in the culture we have Is.” team because it’s a big year for us in 50-over cricket.
“have hope [I will play the World Cup] But it’s one step at a time. It’s one game in a series, one game in the year in international cricket, so I’ve got to keep scoring runs and build this team to where we were in 2019.
“It’s been a terrible year – it’s not how you start the year, it’s how you end it. I think I started very well last year and then things went downhill from there I just have to stay positive and keep moving forward.”
Roy had shown little sign of a return to form during his stint in the SA20 this month, making a top score of 33 in eight appearances for Paarl Royals. However, with his England captain Jos Buttler accompanying him to the franchise, Roy said his teammate’s support was crucial in maintaining a level head.
“I have a great relationship with Jose on and off the field, we speak very honestly with each other and spending the last few weeks with each other in the SA20 league has helped,” he added. “I had a lot of thoughts and ideas and how I felt my last year went, and those conversations were great and it allowed me to free myself up for this innings that I just played.”