With latest batting failure, Roy proving England's weak link
With his top-of-the-order aggression and rapid strike rate, Jason Roy has been an emblem of England's new-found positivity in one-day cricket over the last two years.
He might just be starting to be a weak link.
Roy's miserable summer of scoring continued on Thursday when the right-handed opener was dismissed for 1 in England's Champions Trophy curtain-raiser against Bangladesh at The Oval.
His list of international scores this summer reads: 0, 20, 1, 8, 4 and 1. In all competitions this season, Roy has a top score of 44.
England captain Eoin Morgan said in his eve-of-tournament news conference that Roy will ''definitely play'' in the Champions Trophy, that his opening partnership with fellow big hitter Alex Hales was a vital part of a team that has grown in stature in its ODI renaissance since the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Morgan hadn't changed his mind after Roy's latest failure.
Roy looked tentative in his eight-ball innings, edging two of his first four deliveries into his pads, then poking a thick edge just short of a close-range fielder off a shot away from his body.
His demise came two balls later when he scooped a delivery from Mashrafe Mortaza to short fine leg.
''I thought he was terribly unlucky today,'' Morgan said. ''That sort of stuff can happen. You can get out in that sort of fashion when you're short on runs. We (still) believe in him.''
Roy looks short of confidence, and is the obvious weakness in an otherwise powerful-looking batting lineup that makes the English one of the tournament favorites. His struggles were brought into sharper focus by Hales and Joe Root combining after Roy's departure for a second-wicket stand of 159 to help England to an eight-wicket win in Group A.
Adding to the dilemma facing Morgan and England coach Trevor Bayliss is the fact that the squad's reserve batsman, Jonny Bairstow, is in brilliant form, hitting a team-high 51 in the third ODI against South Africa in his only run-out in the warmup games and a career-high 174 in a one-day competition for Yorkshire on May 3.
It would be a case of swapping an out-of-form player with an in-form player - Bairstow is a middle-order batsman who can play as an opener - but Roy is likely to be given another chance, with England's next game against New Zealand in Cardiff on Tuesday.
England's team leaders don't feel this is the time to start tinkering with the batting lineup, and would hope Roy - with his strike rate of 101.68, a top score of 162 and his thrilling see-it-and-hit-it approach - can get out of his rut and somehow rediscover some form.
Another slip-up by Roy against New Zealand, and serious questions will be asked.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80