Ollie Robinson managed to put aside the furor around him the day after his dream debut in England turned into a nightmare.
The 27-year-old was cheered to take two wickets against New Zealand on Wednesday, but off the pitch a storm of controversy swirled around historic racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 at the age of 18.
He is under investigation by the ECB, could face a fine and even suspension, but was able to focus on his job and take over the wickets of New Zealand batsman Colin de Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson.
England fans inside the ground greeted the wicket with warm cheers in the early afternoon.
Ollie Robinson (center) came back into action and took the wicket from Colin de Grandhomme
Robinson managed to put aside the distraction and focus on the task
The bowler (right) took center stage at Lord’s knowing all eyes were on him
On Thursday morning, his teammate and fellow bowler Mark Wood admitted the incident was “difficult” for Robinson and the rest of the group to deal with.
He said: ‘Last night was pretty hard for him and the whole team to hear that news.
“But I think he will try to focus on cricket today and put his mind firmly on what is an important morning for us, and try to get back into the game.
“Mentally if his head is in that space, I think he can do the business like he did yesterday.”
One of Robinson’s tweets read: ‘My new Muslim friend is the bomb #wheyyyyy’. While he also wrote: ‘I’m not going to lie, a lot of girls need to learn the art of class #getsome.’
After Wednesday’s play, Robinson read a pre-prepared statement: “On the biggest day of my career to date, I am ashamed of the racist and sexist tweets I posted more than eight years ago and which have gone public today.” the ashen player read.
“I want to make it clear that I am neither racist nor sexist.
Robinson stepped onto the field on day two with a cloud of controversy over him
“I deeply regret my actions and am ashamed to make such comments. I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were unforgivable.
‘Since that period I have matured as a person and I deeply regret the tweets.
“Today should be about my efforts on the pitch and the pride of my testing debut for England, but my thoughtless behavior in the past has tarnished this.”
It is understood that Robinson also apologized to his teammates in the locker room after the first day of play.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was surprised that the ECB had not conducted a thorough background check.
He told BBC’s Test Match Special: “I’m amazed that the ECB doesn’t do everything carefully – by everything I mean when you partner with someone or a brand, you go out of your way to make sure you know everything about them.
“They didn’t do that with Ollie Robinson. I don’t think this is easily put to bed because what he tweeted is out there.
Ex England captain Michael Vaughan (R) has criticized the ECB for not doing their due diligence on Test debutant Ollie Robinson (L)
What should have been one of the best days of Robinson’s career turned into a nightmare
“A few weeks ago England would have known for sure that Ollie Robinson was on their minds. You have to go through everything. Today, it’s all there for all to see on Twitter and social media.
“You can’t all of a sudden – why didn’t they remove it – that’s irrelevant. He tweeted what he tweeted in 2012.
“Yes, he was 18, but I find it appalling that with everything, the resources they have in their operation, the ECB doesn’t go through everything about every player you pick to make sure you’ve got everything covered. ‘
The ECB is now likely to conduct due diligence on social media history, though they remain adamant that ultimate responsibility rests with the players.
There is currently no protocol to deal with historical social media posts, but there is a feeling that more could have been done to prevent the situation.
Their embarrassment was made all the more painful as England’s players lined up before the game on Wednesday wearing black t-shirts with an anti-discrimination message.
In a statement, chief executive Harrison reiterated the ECB’s “zero-tolerance stance on any form of discrimination”: “I don’t have the words to express how disappointed I am that an English male player has chosen to tweet like this. to write. however long ago that may have been.
England wore anti-discrimination T-shirts before the start of Wednesday’s first test match
“Anyone reading those words, especially a woman or person of color, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this.
“We will launch a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process.”
Sportsmail columnist and Sky Sports pundit, Nasser Hussain, said the incident highlights the need for players to manage their social media with absolute care and attention.
He said: “It’s really a lesson that when you’re in and around the team, treat everything you do on social media like you’re giving a press conference,” he said.
“If you’re going to wear t-shirts about online hate and abuse, anti-sexism and anti-racism, you just can’t do this. It’s just not good enough and it’s just not on.
“It’s a good lesson for anyone with social media. If you do this kind of thing and you put it out there, whether it’s after 4am after a few beers, it’s there for good.
The England bowler took two wickets on Wednesday and looked cheering during the celebration
“There’s no room for racism, there’s no room for hate online, there’s no room to be a keyboard warrior at 4 AM because you’ve had a few beers. It’s not acceptable. He is an 18 year old boy who has made mistakes and we have all made mistakes and it has ruined his greatest day as a professional cricketer.
“If anything good can come of this, it is that a young boy or girl thinks that ‘online abuse is not good enough’. He has learned the hardest and greatest lesson.
“I always remember my debut with great fondness, I will always remember my first day. He will always remember this day for something he did as an 18 year old and that is very sad.”