Rory Burns has backed Jason Roy to shine on his England Test debut, hailing his old school pal as one of the most naturally talented batsmen he has played with.
Fresh from his integral role in England’s World Cup-winning squad, Roy will make his long-format debut against Ireland in this week’s four-day Test at Lord’s.
Roy will open with his Surrey captain Burns. The duo both attended Whitgift and even toured Australia with the school’s under-15s.
“You’d be hard-pushed to find a more naturally talented batsman than Jason,” said Burns, five weeks younger than Roy, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Sunday.
“Even growing up as a kid you saw Jason hit the ball, strike the ball and do things other kids couldn’t do.
“Over the last couple of years you’ve seen him rein it in, understand his game a bit more and sort of piece it all together.
“We have seen what a wonderful player he is. Hopefully he can keep on doing that and he can translate his white-ball form into red ball.
“I’ve known Jason since he was 10, so to stride out in a Test match with him will be a pretty cool feeling.”
Roy is set to be among three debutants for the one-off Test match against Ireland which gets under way on Wednesday.
Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Warwickshire’s Olly Stone are poised to be among England’s bowling attack as James Anderson continues to struggle with a calf injury.
For Burns, the Surrey opener will be looking to lock down his place ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series which gets under way at Edgbaston a week on Thursday.
Burns, who has been charged with filling Sir Alastair Cook’s shoes, made his Test debut on last winter’s Tour of Sri Lanka, and his appearance against Ireland could provide him with the chance to make the opening three-figure salvo of his six-match England career.
“Like most the guys that are coming in and in amongst it you’ve got to try and cement a place in the side,” Burns added.
“Obviously without scoring the runs, I have not done that yet. That’s probably my next challenge from a personal perspective.
“It is one Test before the Ashes, so if you put your hand up and score some runs you know that you’re going to be there or thereabouts come next week.”
England will be back at Lord’s for the first time since their sensational World Cup victory over New Zealand.
“It was a hell of a campaign, and it has been really exciting supporting the boys,” said Burns, who was not a part of Eoin Morgan’s triumphant team.
“Coming into this group and seeing the excitement of all the boys, it’s great to be around. Now it’s up to us to reassess and push on as a Test squad.”
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