Jason Roy on skipping IPL 2024: 'Had to put my mindset and body first'

Jason Roy hit six fours and a six in the powerplay AFP/Getty Images

Jason Roy has revealed that he opted out of the ongoing IPL 2024 with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to put his "mindset and body" first.

Roy had joined KKR in 2023 for INR 2.8 crore (US$341,000 approx.) as an injury replacement. After scoring 285 runs at an average of 35.62 and strike rate of 151.59, he was due to return this season until he pulled out at the start of March citing personal reasons. He was subsequently replaced by England and Lancashire batter Phil Salt.

It has been a challenging 18 months for Roy. Having missed out on selection for England's T20 World Cup squad in 2022, he endured the same fate last October when he did not make the squad for the defence of the 50-over title he was integral to in 2019. He also went undrafted for this year's Hundred following his release from 2023 champions Oval Invincibles. Last May, Roy had terminated his ECB incremental contract to play the inaugural season of Major League Cricket (MLC).

After finishing the year in the T10 for Chennai Braves, Roy started 2024 in the SA20 for Durban's Super Giants before playing two ILT20 games for Abu Dhabi Knight Riders. Five days later, he embarked on a ten-match stint with Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.

"I've not just woken up one morning and thought, 'you know what - I actually don't feel like getting on that flight to India'. A lot of thought has gone into it, and yeah, it's become far easier to talk about and a far easier decision" Jason Roy

Speaking on the latest The Athlete's Voice podcast, Roy explained that a taxing second half of the winter and a desire to spend quality time at home with his family led to the decision to sit out this edition of the IPL.

"Missing this year's IPL was a huge decision, I think," Roy said. "KKR put so much trust in me by retaining me after a decent year last year and being available for them throughout the year and all the other competitions, you know, I felt like I owe them a huge amount. It was a very big decision, but a decision I came to just because it was my daughter's fifth birthday as soon as our first game was, there were a few things going on, I was quite tired after the start of my year.

"I've come off the back of not a huge amount of cricket, so the last couple of months have really taken it out of me. And so I was very honest to KKR and we've got a fantastic relationship, so we were able to come to an agreement and stuff like that on why I wasn't coming. They completely understood so I'm very grateful to them for that. But I just had to put myself first, you know, just mindset and body."

Roy's withdrawal was also informed by a period two years ago in which he found himself "in a dark place", which resulted in him taking an indefinite break from the game and missing IPL 2022 with Gujarat Titans. It was around this time - in March of that year - that the 33-year-old was reprimanded by the ECB for "conducting himself in a manner which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the game of cricket, the ECB and himself into disrepute". Roy, who admitted to the charge, was fined £2,500 and handed a suspended two-match ban.

"A couple of years ago, I went through an extremely bad patch with my mindset," he said. "With my mental health and stuff, and I pulled out of the IPL when I was signed with Gujarat, and you know that was for a completely different reason. That was because I was in a dark place, I was in a shocking headspace, and it was sort of my own doing.

"I kind of said to myself, 'I'm okay, I'm okay', and I kept going, and I kept playing, and I stayed away from home. And you know, I ended up just shooting myself in the foot. This year and from that point, I basically said to myself, I'm just going to listen to my head, listen to my heart and figure it out from there on in.

"That was a huge learning curve for me, to be able to make decisions like I have this year, you know, and it can look a certain way. But it's nothing to do with anyone else, it's absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.

"It's your decision - I've got a young family, I'm a grown man and I've made the decision off the back of a lot of thoughts. I've not just woken up one morning and thought, 'You know what - I actually don't feel like getting on that flight to India'. A lot of thought has gone into it, and yeah, it's become far easier to talk about and a far easier decision, just because you know, especially from past experiences, what that can do to you."