Rohit Sharma, the all 3 formats Indian opener. Sharma, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest white-ball batsmen of all time has recently emerged as India’s first pick for test opener.

He had tackled one facet of India’s search for a Test opener. However, Rohit had a difficult start to his career in the longer format, and much has been written about his struggles with the swinging ball. Outside Asia, his average of 25.33 till 2019 further highlighted his weaknesses. Although he was given numerous opportunities in the Test team based on his ODI results, it wasn’t until the 2019-2020 season that he cemented his place in the starting lineup.

England opening woes since Cook’s retirement

Since Alastair Cook’s retirement, England have struggled to find a reliable opening batsman in Test cricket. England has also experimented with a variety of other openers. In this regard, Jason Roy is a batsman who bears a striking resemblance to Rohit Sharma. He is also England’s premier opener in the shorter format but struggled to make an impact in Test cricket.

Let’s look at the two openers and see if Jason Roy can come back and emulate Rohit Sharma, and if so, how.

Comparing the initial Test careers of Rohit and Jason Roy

Rohit and Roy had a similar start to their nternational Test careers. Now to be fair to Roy we will be comparing Roy’s performance with Rohit Sharma’s away performance since the former played all his matches in tough UK conditions. 

Now, if we look at the graph below, we can see that they both had a similar start to their careers. Their average and runs look identical in their first test inning. Rohit scored 201 runs with an average of 22.33 whereas Roy scored 187 runs with an average of 18.7. This shows that if chances are given Jason Roy too can improve on his performances like Rohit.

Can Jason Roy become England’s Rohit Sharma in Test Cricket? - cricket analysis stats data
Rohit vs Roy first 10 inning comparison

Roy and Rohit ODI Comparison

Before coming to the Test cricket, let us first compare the two openers of both countries. Rohit has been a permanent part of the Indian ODI Team, whereas Roy has been in and out.

Now if we examine the graph below, we can see that that there is a huge difference in the quality of both the batsmen. The difference between Rohit and Roy’s average is around 17.42. Rohit also has thrice the number of centuries. 

Roy’s strike rate is one area where he stands out. He plays with an extraordinary strike rate of 107. One of the reasons for his failure in test cricket maybe his outstanding power-hitting abilities. Perseverance and patience are two of the most vital qualities for Test batsmen, as Rohit Sharma has learned over time and as Jason Roy seeks.

Can Jason Roy become England’s Rohit Sharma in Test Cricket? - cricket analysis stats data
Rohit vs Roy ODI comparison

Rohit vs Roy List A comparison

When we look into list A cricket, we can see how important experience is to a player’s performance. Rohit has twice as much experience as Roy and has scored twice as many centuries. Both India and England have excellent domestic cricket, which offers much-needed experience and exposure to its players.

Roy should concentrate on county cricket rather than elite T20 leagues throughout the world if he wants to return to England’s test lineup.

Can Jason Roy become England’s Rohit Sharma in Test Cricket? - cricket analysis stats data
Rohit vs Roy List A comparison

Roy’s Test career vs Rohit 2021 Test performances

Jason Roy has only played five Test matches for his country, making it even more difficult to compare him to another batsman. He can be given more opportunities based on his County championships to see where he stands.

In Test cricket, Rohit has been India’s player since 2021. He is now even above Virat Kohli in the Test rankings, ranked fifth. He has now improved his ability to play swing bowlers by making some technical changes to his batting.

Can Jason Roy become England’s Rohit Sharma in Test Cricket? - cricket analysis stats data
Rohit 2021 vs Roy test comparison

His calm approach at the start of the inning is one of the technical adjustments we witnessed. He is now deterring fast bowlers, as evidenced by the drop in his strike rate. In his Test career, Jason Roy had a strike rate of 58.81, which is pretty high for a Test opener. At the start of his career, Rohit had a comparable strike rate. Roy may learn from Rohit how to transform himself according to the role and format. Rohit Sharma has set a standard benchmark for all the openers around the world

It’ll be intriguing to see if Roy ever returns to the England Test team and how he tackles the game, or if he’ll be content with his success in the shorter format.