Jason Roy puts fear into the opposition, says Alec Stewart
Jofra Archer "born to play top-level cricket", adds former England international
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 11/07/19 11:34pm
Alec Stewart says Surrey's Jason Roy has matured into a world-class player who "puts fear into the opposition" and will open the batting for England in the Ashes.
Roy scored 85 off 65 balls to help guide England to an eight-wicket win over Australia that puts them into Sunday's World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord's.
Roy set the tone from the outset of the semi-final, putting pressure on the Australians in an innings during which he smacked Steve Smith for three consecutive sixes.
"You hate singling out one player that can make such a big difference in any sport, but it's so obvious with Jason Roy in that team - he can put fear into that opposition straight away," Stewart, who is Surrey's director of cricket, told Sky Sports News.
"He's done it in a very mature way in this tournament. He understands his own game, he understands how good he is, and also he's not going to chuck [his wicket] away which is great to see.
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"I'm biased; he's a Surrey man so I've seen him emerge and mature from probably the age of 15 or 16 into this world-class player.
"We'll see him in the Ashes, don't worry about that, he'll be opening the batting for England."
Roy's opening partnership with Jonny Bairstow - worth 124 runs in Thursday's semi-final - has been key to England's success, and Stewart says that is down to not allowing the opposition bowlers to dictate matters at the beginning of the innings.
"I saw the stats that came up on Sky earlier on today; their opening partnership is the best of anyone ever in 50-over cricket who have played or opened more than 30 times together," Stewart said.
"The two of them complement each other. It was noticeable when Jason Roy was injured and James Vince came in, the partnership there with Bairstow didn't work for some reason.
"But these two, they just get on so well. Their styles of play complement each other.
"They just dominate, and once you can get on top of a new-ball attack, that is so key because everyone is trying to get early wickets. They haven't lost early wickets and then just smashed it everywhere."
England's bowlers were equally influential in devising Australia's first ever semi-final loss in a World Cup, led by Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer early on.
Stewart said: "That's where the top players really stand up. Chris Woakes, I'm a massive fan of his. He's almost the unsung hero of that England team, just goes about his business very quietly. He's possibly the nicest man in cricket.
"But Jofra Archer as well deserves great credit. There was a lot of talk once his qualification was fast-tracked. Everyone knew what a good cricketer he was through IPL and T20 - what he's done at Sussex - but they didn't know how he was going to perform on the international stage.
"Well, he's just got better and better game-by-game. He just looks as though he's born to play top-level cricket.
"Mark Wood can bowl at 90 miles an hour, but to have a second bowler to bowl in excess of 90 miles an hour, but with his control and his skills, just adds to it.
"Once you get on top of an opposition, when you know you've got a Woakes, a Wood, an Archer, there's nowhere to hide.
"They've hunted in a pack, they've maintained pressure on the opposition and they've been rewarded."