JASON ROY has been dramatically axed from England’s World Cup squad with Harry Brook chosen as a last-minute replacement.
Roy has paid the price for his injuries, Dawid Malan’s prolific form and Brook’s potential and versatility.
Roy, 33, was named in England’s provisional squad last month and as recently as two weeks ago was pencilled in to be Jonny Bairstow’s opening partner in the World Cup.
But he did not feature in England’s 3-1 series win over the Kiwis because of a series of back spasms and instead had to watch from the team balcony as Malan filled his boots with 277 runs in three games.
It means Malan and Bairstow will open England’s innings in the World Cup opener against New Zealand on October 5.
It is a shattering blow for Roy, whose pulverising batting was key to England’s victory in the 2019 World Cup – including 85 from 65 balls in the semi-final win over Australia.
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Roy was also the man who picked up and threw to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler as New Zealand batter Martin Guptill was run out from the final ball of the super over.
Roy was also dropped from England’s T20 team shortly before last year’s World Cup in that format – which England won.
White-ball captain Buttler spoke on Saturday about Roy’s frustration at being sidelined and unable to display his World Cup credentials.
England didn’t have to submit their squad until September 28 and they had the option of giving Roy one final chance by adding him to the players to face Ireland in three one-dayers starting on Wednesday.
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But, after a meeting involving Buttler, coach Matthew Mott, selector Luke Wright and team supremo Rob Key, they decided to tell Roy the bad news now.
Wright admitted the decision to dump Roy was “tough” but believes England can retain their 50-over trophy.
Wright said: “We are confident we can go to India and win the World Cup.
"We are blessed with an incredibly strong group of white-ball players which was underlined by the performances in the series win against a very good New Zealand team.
“The strength of the group has meant we have had to make some tough decisions on world-class players with Jason Roy missing out and Harry Brook coming in.”
Roy’s form has faded in the past couple of years although he has managed two centuries in his last six ODI innings. He is now likely to retire from international cricket and try to cash in on the T20 franchise circuit.
Brook has experienced an emotional rollercoaster. He was initially squeezed out of the provisional squad by Ben Stokes and then had another potential route blocked by Malan’s runs.
But now the Yorkshireman has nabbed Roy’s spot despite scoring just 37 runs in three ODI innings against the Blackcaps.
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Brook, 24, is nine years younger than Roy and can open and bat in the middle-order while Roy is just an opener. Brook will be withdrawn from the squad to face the Irish.
The rest of England’s World Cup squad is the same as the provisional 15 with Mark Wood and Adil Rashid, both unfit at the moment, expected to be ready for the tournament.
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