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Jason Roy axing shows ‘ruthless’ side of sport – but England keep the door open

Jason Roy was part of one of the most successful opening partnerships in white-ball cricket alongside Jonny Bairstow, but he was axed from the squad in favour of relative youngster Harry Brook.

It was a double blow, after Roy was included in the initial 15-strong provisional squad when it was announced a month ago, but on Sunday the team was finalised, and the decision made, Roy was out.

Even the England selectors thought the decision had been made, but performances in the warm-up ODI series against New Zealand – where Roy was unable to play a part due to injury and fitness concerns – forced a change.

“(It was) incredibly tough, as it was originally when Harry missed out as well. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly,” England men’s selector Luke Wright said.

“From a selection panel, when we got together we realised things had slightly changed and Dawid (Malan) would be the one opening the batting with Jonny in the World Cup.”

Although at 33, Roy is arguably in the twilight of his international career, he holds the experience of 116 ODI matches behind him, over 4,000 runs and 12 centuries. While Brook has played just six times in the format, and has played a large proportion of his cricket since the domestic 50-over competition was relegated to a second-tier trophy to pave the way for the Hundred.

Crucially that was not the case when England had a ‘white-ball’ reset that culminated in the heroic 2019 victory, bolstered by the domestic 50-over competition.

Captain Jos Buttler spoke about loyalty in the squad and selections after the final warm-up match against New Zealand, but a day later the decision was announced, and Roy was out, despite what might have been said a month previously.

“(At the end of August) everyone was told,