Robinson returns after racism row as England name squad for first two India Tests
Ollie Robinson on his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s. (Reuters Photo)
OLLIE ROBINSON was recalled to the England squad on Wednesday (21) for next month’s first two Tests against India following a Twitter racism row that overshadowed his international debut.
Robinson received an eight-game ban, with five deferred, for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 that came to light again during the 27-year-old’s Test bow against New Zealand at Lord’s in June.
But a disciplinary hearing paved the way for the seamer to feature against India after deeming Robinson had already served a three-game ban, having been suspended from the second Test against New Zealand and then dropping out of two Twenty20 matches for county side Sussex.
Robinson performed well on his England debut, taking seven wickets – including a haul of 4 for 75 – and making a useful 42 in a drawn series opener at Lord’s.
But the Twitter storm started first day as an England cricketer and ended with a public apology.
He was then suspended from international duty and missed an eight-wicket defeat in the second and final Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, a reverse that saw England lose their first Test series at home in seven years.
He is now back, however, in the squad for the opening two matches of a five-Test campaign against India at Trent Bridge (starting on August 4) and Lord’s (August 12).
England head coach Chris Silverwood made no reference to the furore when speaking about Robinson’s returning in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement, saying: “We have selected Ollie Robinson after his seven-wicket Test debut against New Zealand.
“Ollie proved in that Test that he has the ability to replicate his outstanding form in the County Championship at international level and we will continue to work with him to develop his England career.”
Stokes returns to Test duty
Meanwhile, Ben Stokes returned to the Test squad after missing a New Zealand series where England’s batsmen faltered.
Stokes hurried back from a finger injury to lead a makeshift one-day team in a series win against Pakistan after all the 16 England players originally selected were ruled out by a Covid-19 outbreak within the squad that meant they had to self-isolate.
But the star all-rounder was rested from a subsequent 2-1 T20 series win over Pakistan.
Left-armer Sam Curran’s inclusion gives England Test captain Joe Root an additional all-round option.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer (elbow) and pace bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes (heel) have both been ruled out through injury.
Wicketkeeper-batsmen Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, both controversially rested from the New Zealand series following their stints in the Indian Premier League, return after James Bracey struggled against the Black Caps.
Jack Leach and Dom Bess have been selected as the specialist spinners.
All England players will be available for the first two rounds of the Hundred, English domestic cricket’s new 100 balls per side competition, before linking up at Loughborough for a training camp ahead of the first Test.
England squad: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood.