SHARJAH: England’s talented opener Jason Roy Sunday admitted lanky Mohammad Irfan poses a different challenge with his giant-like height, saying it’s difficult to get hold of the Pakistani paceman in the ongoing one-day series.
The seven feet, one inch (2.16m) tall Irfan — the tallest-ever player to play the game — bowled Roy with the second ball of the first one-day international in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Irfan picked 3-35 to anchor Pakistan’s six-wicket win but England levelled the four-match series at 1-1 by winning the second match — also in Abu Dhabi — on Friday.
Roy said Irfan is difficult with the ball coming from an unusual height.
“He’s an absolute giant,” said Roy of Irfan ahead of the third match in Sharjah on Tuesday.
“Yes it is different. You saw how he completely did me in the first game. It’s something to get used to and something to work on but he’s very difficult to get hold of.”
Roy, who hit a brilliant 54 in England’s 283-5 in the second game, said he tries to keep his eyes on the ball.
“You just have to watch the ball no matter who’s bowling at you. There are so many different actions out there you just have to watch that ball. Yes, you’ve almost got to have a different set up and wait for the ball a bit more.
“He probably seems a bit quicker than he is because he’s (almost) 12 foot tall but my team-mate at Surrey was Chris Tremlett so I’ve had a bit of experience at facing big bowlers.
He was a handful and so is Irfan.”
Roy said England’s batsmen had coped well against leg-spinner Yasir Shah in one-day matches after the Pakistani bowler took 15 wickets in the preceding 2-0 Test win.
“It’s (just) been two games, and he’s obviously a class bowler – so you’ve always got to be on edge with players like him. But I think you’ve just got to have your way of playing, and back it,” Roy said, hailing England’s levelling of the series.
“It was extremely satisfying, and a great turnaround from the team as well after the disappointment of the first game.
To turn it round like we did was an outstanding effort with bat and ball,” he added.
Roy praised his opening partner Alex Hales who knocked his maiden hundred on Friday.
“He’s an outstanding player. He’s come a long way, since starting in the Twenty20 format. He’s got his maiden hundred – and that was his key task for this trip, he said.
“Now that he’s crossed that kind of hurdle, I think he’d be more than ready (for the step into Tests),” said Roy of Hales’s prospect of selection on next month’s tour to South Africa.