England: Fast bowler Ollie Robinson ruled out of first Test against West Indies

England
Ollie Robinson

Ollie Robinson has been ruled out of England’s first Test against the West Indies with a back spasm, with uncapped seamer Saqib Mahmood stepping into the match squad.

Robinson pulled up midway through an over during the warm-up match against a CWI President’s XI and was unable to take part in training on Sunday.

England were already unlikely to gamble on the 28-year-old’s fitness but that settled the issue, allowing Mahmood to take his spot in a 12-man squad.

Interim head coach Paul Collingwood and captain Joe Root must now decide whether to hand the Lancashire quick a debut on Tuesday in an all-seam attack or stick with the variety of Jack Leach’s left-arm spin.

Craig Overton seems certain to play, while Mark Wood has recovered from illness, but with record wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad controversially dropped for the tour, concerns over the depth of the pace attack is the last thing the tourists wanted.

“Ollie is a talented bowler. Naturally he’ll be a big miss,” said Chris Woakes, who is the senior bowler on the trip.

“He’s shown in his short Test career so far that he’s certainly got the skills and the ability to do good things in the format. At the same time, it gives people opportunities.

“We’re trying to win games cricket here, but it does give that chance to someone to potentially make their Test debut who’s been waiting in the wings for quite a while to show what they can can do at this level.”

England dropped their top two leading Test wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, for the West Indies tour, with Robinson set to be a key part of the attack in their absence.

Neither Anderson nor Broad are expected to join the squad if Robinson is ruled out of the entire series, with journeyman Warwickshire seamer Liam Norwell, 30, the first reserve.

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