Ollie Robinson admits he feared for his future in England
Ollie Robinson has revealed he fears for his career in England and even prepared for a possible two-year ban after the Twitter storm that overshadowed his Test debut.
The 27-year-old celebrated a first five-wicket transport on day three of the first LV = insurance test against India, a proud second-chance moment he once doubted.
When Robinson won his international selection against New Zealand two months ago, it should have been the crown of his professional life. But the emergence of racist, sexist and offensive tweets dating back almost a decade has left him mired in controversy instead.
After a full apology in public and private, the Sussex couturier left the team as soon as the match was over to await the findings of a Cricket Disciplinary Commission investigation into the episode.
The case has even reached the House of Commons, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson backing Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s assessment that Robinson’s ban is “exaggerated”.
He was ultimately banned for eight games, three served retroactively with five others suspended, and was also fined and ordered to attend training courses through the Professional Cricketers Association.
Robinson was back on the English side as soon as possible at Trent Bridge this week, and confessed he had feared a much longer exile.
“There was a time when I was talking with my lawyers and we were looking at the fact that I could be banned for a few years and never play for England again,” he said.
“In a few years, I would have been 30 and someone else could have come in and take my place. So there certainly was a time when I had doubts about my career – but luckily everything went well today.
” It was hard. Probably the toughest few weeks I’ve had in cricket to be honest, or in my life for that matter. It affected me not only myself, but also my family. I have learned a lot now and am looking to move forward.
Robinson’s ability to thrive at the highest level does not appear to be in question, his five-for-Nottingham meaning he now has 12 wickets at an average of 15.50 from his three innings as an international bowler.
But he knows that’s only half the story, and he also has to keep his promises that he’s a different man than the teenager who once littered social media with offensive content.
“I was a naive 18 year old and made a lot of mistakes, not just these tweets,” he said.
“I have grown a lot as a person during this time. I have learned a lot and tried to develop myself as a person over the past 10 years.
“I’m also a father now and just tried to make me the best person I can be – and I hope people can see that.
“Everyone with England was very good, they put their arms around me and helped me through a difficult situation.
“I also knew that what I was doing on the pitch wouldn’t affect our relationships, but it was important for me to show everyone that I’m the real deal on the pitch and try to get rid of the meticulous examination.”
His English teammates will certainly be grateful for the pressure and persistence from Robinson and Anderson, the latter taking four for 54.
With Stuart Broad ticketless and lacking in rhythm on the sixth anniversary of his famous demolition of Australia on the same ground, India could easily have done more than its all-round 278s.
As it stood, they had to be content with a lead of 95, which was reduced to 70 by England forerunners Rory Burns and Dom Sibley before a premature finish due to rain.
Robinson certainly enjoyed the battle, brushing the shoulders of India’s top scorer KL Rahul at first as neither man relented an inch and later raising his finger to his lips in a sharp farewell after taking out Ravindra Jadeja.
Anderson was equally combative and Robinson said, “It was just friendly jokes, we were just trying to get them out of their bubble.
“They were beating well, pretty defensive, so I was trying to get KL to play a few shots against us. It was very fun.