Ollie Robinson ‘considered retirement’ in midst of injury-plagued English summer

Two Tests against Pakistan less with one to go, with a series win secured and history made, Ollie Robinson is in a good place.

They may “only” have eight wickets in their four innings to date, but they have come to an average of 18.37, to reduce their overall Test figure to 19.61 after 13 appearances, and have shown their impressive prowess. He has dabbled in rebounding and reverse swing, along with his usual unerring accuracy with the new ball, and in the second Test at Multan, he became the first closer to pitch twice in a game to Pakistani batting phenom and captain Babar. Azam. Most encouraging of all, his 62.1 overs have been of a base-level intensity that hasn’t kept batsmen out of the woods.

Encouraging because Robinson has revealed that he considered retiring in the summer, after constant bumps in the road on a long journey to his return to action.

After his fitness was called into question at the end of a humble tour of Australia last winter, back problems meant Robinson was unable to play any role in the three-Test tour of the Caribbean that followed. Complications followed at the start of the summer of 2022: further back problems and a dental problem saw him miss a share of cricket with Sussex, as well as the first four Tests under the new leadership duo of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

In light of comments about his lack of fitness, Robinson’s subsequent setbacks sparked something of a backlog from those who assumed a lack of work ethic was the reason for his continued absences. In reality, Robinson believes those ailments were nothing more than unfortunate timing for a cricketer who is still just 28 years old and trying to come back fitter than ever. Speaking in Karachi on Thursday ahead of the third Test which begins on Saturday, Robinson spoke about a dark moment that had him wondering if he would quit the game altogether, with a vague idea of ​​moving into a property.

“There were times when I didn’t think I would play for England again or play cricket again,” Robinson told BBC Sport. “I kept coming back to full fitness, then I had an injury or illness, then another injury. There was a moment in June where I thought ‘Maybe I have to see what else I can do here, I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep playing cricket.’ It’s been tough and there have been some dark days, but tours and series wins like this make it all worth it.”

“It’s a huge confidence booster for me,” he said of the Pakistan series, on bowls that seemed useless to fast bowlers, and yet England have taken 23 of the 40 wickets available so far. “Twelve months ago I was fighting my way to the park. It’s a very proud tour for me, in the fact that my body has gotten through it, I’ve bowled well and I’ve shown the world that I can almost do it in any condition. Not only for the team, but for myself. It’s been a very good tour so far and I hope we can win 3-0 this week.”

The nature of Robinson’s back problems was particularly vexing, and for a while they showed no sign of abating even as he concentrated on rehabilitating and strengthening his body. The root of the problem proved difficult to pin down, in part because the spasms came and went, ultimately randomly but frustratingly just as it seemed she was about to return to competitive action.

“I had different kinds of scans. MRIs, X-rays. It was just a little wear and tear,” he said. “Because there was so much inflammation, every time I got back to full fitness, the inflammation was there. It was annoying again and gave me another back spasm. I ended up getting five injections, which got rid of the inflammation and allowed me to train.” . a little more difficult. Then she stabilized. It was weird, because I felt like it was the end of my career, the way it felt.

“Things can change so quickly. When you’re in those dark spaces, it’s hard to see through it. When you get to this moment, and if it happens again in the future, I know I can come out on the other side.” , keep fighting, keep bowling well.”

You feel lucky to come out the other end. And so are England. Robinson returned to the Test squad for the second game of the series against South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford and since then the team have not only won all four games, but Robinson has contributed 20 dismissals at 16:35. He passed 50 Test wickets in his 11th Test, the fastest overall by an England bowler since Ian Botham in 1978, and, at the age of 29, there’s a very real feeling he’s in it for the long haul. like a new -bowler from your country.

In the absence of Stuart Broad, who was absent from the tour following the birth of his first child, the way Robinson has meshed with Anderson has been vital to England’s approach. His skills haven’t diminished with an older ball in hand, and he’s been able to work with unconventional plans, including hitting the shot at a slightly shorter length and using the available drift on surfaces to hit the top of the ball. stump.

It must be said that none of those fine-tuned skill applications is a coincidence. it is simply the reward for a lifestyle change based on those around you.

“I changed my gym sessions, I changed my training. I increased the intensity of my training,” he said. “You only have to look at Stokesy, when he trains, to see the intensity with which some people train. I have tried to get as close to that as possible. Jimmy has played for 20 years. He is a great role model for me and someone whom I admire.”

Test cricket has presented its fair share of challenges for Robinson, even if his exploits on the field have been impressive. His debut against New Zealand was tumultuous as historic offensive tweets surfaced hours after he was presented with his first cap at Lord’s at the start of the 2021 season.

Their attention now turns to closing out 2022 with another win to seal England’s second win in Asia, after beating Sri Lanka 3-0 in 2018.

“It’s an exciting time for English cricket. We’ve made it 2-0 and if we can make it 3-0 it will be an incredible effort. The lads are ready for one last big push to make it 3-0.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is Associate Editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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