Pietersen influence has Roy in positive mindset

England batsman Jason Roy hopes to carry on from Abu Dhabi in Sharjah tomorrow in the third ODI against Pakistan
England batsman Jason Roy hopes to carry on from Abu Dhabi in Sharjah tomorrow in the third ODI against Pakistan
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Driving forces will be on Jason Roy’s side as he tries to make himself a fixture in England’s white-ball team.

Roy will be aiming to consolidate against Pakistan in the third one-day international in Sharjah tomorrow after hitting his third ODI half-century in the second match of the series on Friday, and there will be a shining example at close quarters of how to do even better.

His opening partner Alex Hales stayed the course for a maiden century in Abu Dhabi, after the pair had shared a stand of 102 in the series-levelling 95-run win.

The next morning, the tourists’ consultant coach Paul Collingwood was singing the praises of both – and their team-mates. England’s all-time second-highest ODI runscorer insisted that, even in his prime, he would barely scramble into the national third XI these days.

Roy will hardly lack for confidence or motivation then, when he takes guard in the third match of four.

Yet goodwill and expert advice will be coming in equal and abundant measure from much further afield too.

Record-breaking batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara have both played significant mentoring roles for Roy, as Surrey team-mates – and their influence is ingrained on him.

He could ‘hear’ Sangakkara admonishing him, for example, when he got out for 54 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium – while he cites Pietersen’s irrepressible positivity as a constant inspiration.

Pietersen may be surplus to England’s requirements these days. But even while he plies his trade 4,000 miles away in his native South Africa’s Ram Slam Twenty20 tournament, Roy’s exploits will continue – in his own words – to have a “touch” of the Pietersen about them.

“As far as the positive mindset, he’s a great guy for that,” said the 25-year-old, born, like Pietersen, in Durban.

“No matter where he’s playing, when the chips are down or whatever, he still manages to maintain an extremely positive mindset –which is something very difficult at international level.”

There was more than just that hint of KP three days ago when Roy reverse-swept the third delivery from much-feared Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah high over square leg, bouncing only inches inside the rope.

He may have borrowed fewer of Sangakkara’s classical strokes.

But when it comes to copying from the best, Roy knows the Sri Lanka great’s knack of cashing in when set is second to none.

“He’s been fantastic, as far as maintaining an innings,” he said.

“I think if he’d been with me the other day, when I gave it away on 50-odd, he would have been pulling his hair out.”

Sangakkara is currently even further away than Pietersen – around double the distance in Los Angeles for Shane Warne’s Cricket All Stars tournament.

But in just one season so far at the Oval, he has had an impact on Roy – who said: “He’s been a great mentor for me, and I’m looking forward to learning more from him next year.”

His challenge then is to try to successfully blend care and adventure at international level.

“I’m not the sort of player who will go out there and nurdle it around for the first 10,” added Roy.

“I’ve got to maintain that positive mindset. If I don’t, a few things go wrong – and it’s not the way I play.”

He knows he must not give it away, though, the next time he gets to that half-century.

“I’ve just got to kick on now. That’s a mindset thing, starting again on 50 – getting there, and then saying ‘Right, now I’m on nought’.