Ollie Robinson’s England career is in jeopardy after ANOTHER injury setback, as bowler pulls out of County Select XI warm-up game against New Zealand with a back issue
- Ollie Robinson has been plagued by injuries and has had another setback
- He pulled out of County Select XI at the last moment before New Zealand game
- Robinson showed huge promise in his first year of Test cricket but is struggling
- The bowler was said to be suffering with ‘stiffness’ in his back while warming up
Ollie Robinson’s immediate England future is in doubt after the latest fitness setback in his troubled year.
Robinson was said to be ‘suffering’ with stiffness in his back after pulling out at the last moment of the County Select XI side who took on New Zealand on Thursday.
It is the latest in a catalogue of issues that have cast a shadow over the international career of a bowler who showed immense promise in his first year of Test cricket.
Ollie Robinson made a great start to his England career but has been hampered by injuries
ROBINSON’S INJURY WOES
December 2021: Forced off field in the first and third Ashes Tests due to hamstring strains.
January 2022: Misses the fourth Test in Sydney with a shoulder problem. Gets off to a flying start in the fifth Test by dismissing David Warner and Steve Smith but then suffers back spasm. England bowling coach Jon Lewis criticises Robinson’s fitness.
March 2022: Back issues return and he misses Test tour of West Indies. ‘It’s just as frustrating for him as it is for me,’ says skipper Joe Root.
April-May 2022: Tooth infection and food poisoning rule him out of Sussex matches.
Thursday: Withdraws from Counties XI to face New Zealand with stiff back.
Now Robinson, who has taken 39 wickets at 21 apiece in his nine Tests, faces a long road back before he can prove to England he can cope with the physical and mental demands that come with performing at the highest level.
‘Ollie felt a bit of stiffness in his back while he was warming up this morning before the game,’ said Richard Dawson, coach of the collection of county players providing New Zealand’s last warm-up opposition before next week’s first Test.
‘We had a chat and felt as a precaution it was sensible for him to sit out this match. We will assess him and move forward from there.’
The trouble for Robinson, 28, is that this is far from an isolated incident and the attention on his fitness problems has left him, according to those close to him, in a state of some uncertainty and even turmoil.
The conditioning of a bowler who had an exemplary fitness record in county cricket before his promotion last season was publicly questioned by England bowling coach Jon Lewis when Robinson suffered a back spasm in the final Ashes Test in Hobart.
Then, after he was preferred to Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad for England’s tour of the Caribbean, Robinson pulled up during the warm-up match in Antigua and ended up missing the whole series with what was described as another spasm.
The bowler needs to prove to England that he can deal with the demands of Test cricket
Since then doubts over his fitness have grown, perhaps in Robinson’s mind as much as anything, and he has bowled just 76 overs in three matches this season for Sussex, including 18 against New Zealand in the tour game last week.
He has also been desperately unlucky, suffering an infection in his gum that hindered his comeback and then spending two days on a drip after falling ill with food poisoning during Sussex’s game against Leicestershire.
This latest setback seems sure to end any chance Robinson had of featuring in the three-Test series against New Zealand.
Furthermore, with Sussex only having two first-class games in the next six weeks, he seems sure to also miss the rearranged fifth and final Test against India which starts on July 1.
Robinson also had a gum infection and food poisoning in a run of terrible luck
And it is another setback for an England side robbed of no fewer than six bowlers — Jofra Archer, Olly Stone, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Fisher and Tom and Sam Curran — because of stress fractures and Mark Wood because of an elbow injury.
At least there was bowling promise at Chelmsford on Thursday in the form of 21-year-old Worcestershire left-armer Ben Gibbon — who was the pick of the County attack as New Zealand struggled to make the most of much-needed time in the middle.
Gibbon took two wickets, including a beauty to take the top of the off-stump of Daryl Mitchell, as New Zealand reached 298 for eight by the close of the first day.