Jason Roy ends England deal to play Major League Cricket in US

England's Jason RoyShamsul Hoque

Batting star Jason Roy is ending his England contract to play in the first season of Major League Cricket in the United States.

The aggressive opener, who has just returned from a stint with Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, reportedly has an offer from their affiliated MLC franchise, the Los Angeles Knight Riders.

It is understood the 32-year-old has been offered about £300,000 ($370,000) for the first two seasons of the new American Twenty20 competition, which launches in July.

Roy was dropped from England’s central contract list last year, downgraded to an incremental deal worth between £60,000 and £70,000.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement on Thursday that it had agreed for Roy to play in the US “on the proviso that he gives up the remainder of his ECB incremental contract, which both parties have agreed to”.

“The ECB wish to clarify that this decision will not affect Jason’s selection for England teams going forward,” it added. “We have absolute confidence and faith that Jason is committed to England cricket.”

The aggressive opener did not feature in England’s T20 World Cup triumph in October and November, but has held on to his place in the 50-over side and will hope to feature in this year’s 50-over World Cup defence in India.

The Surrey player said in a statement on Twitter that he would never walk away from England.

“Representing my country continues to be my proudest moment as a professional cricketer,” said Roy, who has scored nearly 6,000 international runs in all formats.

“I hope to play for England for many more years – that remains my priority.”

He added, “As a single format player with no central contract I wanted to take the opportunity to play this competition as there are currently no scheduling conflicts with England. It benefits me as an England player to play as much competitive cricket as possible.”

The structure of world cricket is changing at a dizzying speed, with huge salaries on offer to top players in franchise leagues across the globe.

Organisers of Major League Cricket are promising “six new teams and a new sport coming at the world-class level to the United States”.

Other players signed up include Australian stars Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh as well as former South Africa captain and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.