Sir Ian Botham says it will be a “disgrace” if Jason Roy does not play in the Ashes after helping England to their maiden World Cup title.
Roy hit five fifty-plus scores in seven innings at the top of the order, including 153 against Bangladesh and then 85 from 65 balls against Australia in the semi-finals, and is now poised for his Test debut.
Botham also believes the World Cup-winning exploits of Roy and his team-mates will see a “resurgence” in cricket being played across the country.
“Jason has shown how good a player he is and how well he played Mitchell Starc in the 50-over format – he had a look at him and worked him out,” said the Sky Sports Cricket expert.
“If [England don’t pick him] it’s a disgrace. He should automatically start at the top of the order. I would definitely start with him. I think he deserves it and I’d be amazed if England don’t go with it
“It’s great you have players competing and hungry to play for England.
“The spin-off of this result is that you will now see kids in parks putting sweaters down and chalk marks trees and garage doors and kids out there playing. The reason is success.
“If you are playing well and winning World Cups everyone wants to play. You saw it in 2003 [when England won the Rugby World Cup] and you will see it now with the cricket.
“There will be a resurgence in schools, clubs, grassroots – all the way through. There will be cricket mania, if you like.”
Botham says England’s maiden World Cup victory came about after they were “ruthless” following their dismal group-stage exit in the tournament four years earlier.
The England legend says his country put in “the worst international performance I have ever seen” in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, when they beat only Afghanistan and Scotland.
“England were embarrassing four years ago, and if you’d have said to me 20 or 30 years ago an England cricket team would be embarrassing I would have laughed at you,” added Botham.
“They were awful. I think it was the worst international performance I have ever seen. I was cringing sat in the commentary box.
“But at the end of the tournament it was ripped up and started again. Give credit where it is due, they had to be ruthless and were ruthless. Sunday was worth four years of hard work.
“It was continuous work for [captain Eoin Morgan]. He’ll say he could turn off but [the mind] never stops. It will have been working all the time.
“He would have had a few sleepless nights as he got closer to the tournament, wondering if he had the right players, but England didn’t fall into the trap.
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