Fit-again Ollie Robinson back in England squad after injury issues

Seamer Ollie Robinson has earned a recall into England’s Test squad for the first two matches of the upcoming series with South Africa.

Ben Stokes’ side face the Proteas at Lord’s on August 17 before doing battle again later that month at Emirates Old Trafford and conclude their red-ball summer at the Kia Oval for the third Test, which will begin on September 8.

Robinson has not played for his country since the Ashes ended in January due to a plethora of fitness issues, mainly linked to his back, but impressed with nine wickets in Sussex’s recent LV= Insurance County Championship match with Nottinghamshire last week and will finally get the chance to catch the eye of new head coach Brendon McCullum later this month.

He replaces the injured Jamie Overton in the 14-man squad, which is otherwise unchanged from the New Zealand and India Tests with opener Zak Crawley retained despite his run of low scores.

Mo Bobat, men’s performance director for the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: “After an excellent start to the summer under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, we’re looking forward to an exciting Test series against a strong South Africa side.

“The selectors have picked a squad for the first two Tests at Lord’s and Emirates Old Trafford with continuity in mind.

“It’s good to get Ollie Robinson back in the mix after his recent injury. He will continue his progress by playing for the Lions against South Africa in a four-day match at Canterbury next week.”

The full squad for the Lions match, which starts on August 9, is set to be announced on Friday.

Robinson will hope to use the four-day fixture to further show his injury troubles are behind him after a frustrating 2022 so far.

Following a disappointing Ashes series, where his fitness and conditioning habits were publicly criticised, he was a spectator during the subsequent tour of the West Indies with back spasms.

The 28-year-old was pencilled in to face New Zealand in May as part of a County Select XI, but a stiff back saw him miss out and a bout of Covid-19 further disrupted his season before a strong return to action at Trent Bridge last week.

If Robinson, who has taken 39 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 21.28, comes through the Lions match unscathed, he will compete with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Craig Overton and Matthew Potts for one of the seamer positions at Lord’s.

Uncapped Harry Brook has retained his place in the squad but is set to remain on the sidelines with England on a four-Test winning streak.