Ashes to Ashes…Redemption man Robinson’s seven-wicket haul against India should land him a new ball role in Australia
- In just four tests, Ollie Robinson has become an integral part of England’s attack
- The offensive tweets that marred his England debut are now a distant memory
- 27-year-old says he’s ‘trying to be a better person’ after Twitter controversy
- Robinson is one of England’s best players in a squad that lacks star names
It’s been less than three months since Ollie Robinson feared his testing career would be over after the rise of historic racist and sexist tweets during his testing debut at Lord’s.
However, his man-of-the-match performance against India at Headingley means it’s now hard to believe he won’t get the new ball on this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.
The 27-year-old has become an integral part of England’s attack in just four Tests and the furore that enveloped him on his debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in early June when abusive tweets from between 2012 and 2014 were found and made public, seems a world away now.
Ollie Robinson played a match performance match against India at Headingley
His seven wickets in Leeds, including the crucial scalp of Indian captain Virat Kohli on the final morning, were testament to the character and resilience Robinson has displayed during a turbulent summer.
The lengthy investigation that followed the Lord’s tumult ended with the Sussex bowler being banned from eight games, of which five were suspended.
As he missed the second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston and two T20 Blast matches for his province, the ban was deemed to have been fulfilled by the time this series started against India.
Now Robinson is just thankful to be playing again after admitting earlier this month that he feared being banned for two years when he was initially banned in June.
Virat Kohli walks off the field after being sent off by Robinson on Saturday at Headingley
Yet he has emerged as the find of the summer for a team from England whose bowling resources have been exhausted by the absence of Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.
After four Tests, he already has two five-wicket hauls and 23 wickets at an average of 17.65.
Robinson’s metronomic probing of the stump in the manner of his childhood hero Glenn McGrath has so far paid off.
Now he just wants to enjoy every moment, especially that Kohli firing that led England to victory in Leeds. “It was an amazing feeling, the crowd here was incredible,” he said. “The noise when we got Kohli out was deafening, it was just an incredible experience and feeling to get that wicket.
Robinson was a key player for England after absentees exhausted the squad
“It’s after quite a few hard, tough years. I’ve had to work hard to get here, so it’s been really nice to get the rewards in the last four Test matches.”
Regarding the events at the beginning of the summer, Robinson admits: “When you perform, the control is a bit off. That’s not to say it’s not fresh in my mind. It’s still something I’m trying to work on and make myself a better person.”
The Headingley performance had more significance for Robinson, as he was sacked from Yorkshire in 2014 for what cricket director Martyn Moxon called ‘a number of unprofessional actions’ believed to be related to timekeeping and trust issues. “I think it probably helped that I played here as a youngster,” Robinson said. “I had no nerves and knew the ends where I was bowling a little better than maybe the other grounds.
“It was extra special to get a winning five-for England on this ground as well.”
James Anderson celebrates after taking Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket at Headingley
Robinson also paid tribute to James Anderson, England’s foremost wicket taker, who has taken him under his wing since he first entered the international set-up last summer.
“Ever since I came to the England area, he’s actually been one of my best friends here,” he said. ‘I get along with him, I talk to him every day. Learning from him was a bonus. I didn’t see that [grumpy] side of him that others can see.
“It would be nice to open the bowling alley with Jimmy for the rest of the series. I feel we are a good match, we are building pressure on both sides and we have wickets on that.’