Ollie Robinson recalled to England squad for first two Tests against India
Ollie Robinson has been recalled to the England Test squad for the first time since he was banned for a series of offensive historic tweets.
The Sussex seamer was handed a dream Lord’s debut against New Zealand in June but saw the occasion turn into a nightmare when racist, sexist and otherwise abhorrent messages dating back almost a decade came to light.
The 27-year-old ended his first day as an international cricketer with a public apology but was not considered for the next match and an investigation by the Cricket Discipline Committee saw him served with an eight-match ban, with five of those suspended for two years.
He has since made a low-key return to county action but has been recalled by England head coach Chris Silverwood at the first time of asking, joining a 17-man squad for the first two Tests against India next month.
At the peak of the controversy Robinson’s case transcended the traditional cricket community, attracting attention from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and sports minister Oliver Dowden, who agreed that censuring the player for nine-year-old social media posts was excessive.
Others took a more hardline stance, with former England cricketer Michael Carberry suggesting it would be fitting if the incident ended Robinson’s career.
Announcing his return via press release, Silverwood gave no hint of the off-field drama, saying only: “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.”
Elsewhere in the squad, which remains at swollen levels due to the coronavirus situation, Ben Stokes makes his return to the red-ball side after missing the series defeat to the Black Caps.
Stokes rushed his recovery from finger surgery to lead an emergency one-day international team against Pakistan after a Covid-19 outbreak forced 16 players into isolation, but was rested once again for the T20 leg.
Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are back as wicketkeeper-batsmen, after James Bracey endured a torrid time while deputising against New Zealand, and Sam Curran returns as an all-round option.
Jofra Archer (elbow) and Chris Woakes (heel) are not deemed fit for Test cricket but Ollie Pope has been included having previously been rated touch-and-go due to a thigh complaint.
Yorkshire’s Dom Bess comes in as back-up to first-choice spinner Jack Leach, but there is no place for Moeen Ali, despite his confirmed interest in playing Test cricket this summer.
All England players will be available for the first two rounds of The Hundred, before linking up at Loughborough for a training camp ahead of the opening Test at Trent Bridge on August 4.
“A home Test series against India is one of the most anticipated red-ball series and this promises to be an outstanding five Tests,” said Silverwood.
“We are expecting a highly competitive series and have selected our strongest possible squad. The returns of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran provide balance that allows us to get back to a structure that has been successful in Test cricket.
“Ben’s leadership in the Royal London Series, when he played despite his finger not yet being 100 per cent, typified his character and commitment that drives the players around him forward.
“With Jos and Jonny back in the squad we have added further experience and quality that will be needed against the world’s second-ranked team.”
England squad for India Test series: Root (c), Anderson, Bairstow, Bess, Broad, Burns, Buttler, Crawley, S Curran, Hameed, Lawrence, Leach, Pope, Robinson, Sibley, Stokes, Wood.
Danni Wyatt stars on 150th T20I appearance as England begin India tour with win
Sophie Ecclestone returned figures of three for 15 on her comeback appearance after four months out with a shoulder injury.
Harry Brook blocks himself from ‘negativity’ by withdrawing from social media
Brook has left the running of his X and Instagram accounts to someone else.
Sophie Ecclestone set for England return in T20 opener in India – Heather Knight
The world’s top-ranked limited-overs bowler underwent surgery after dislocating her shoulder in August.
Rehan Ahmed rejects Sir Alastair Cook’s criticism of Jos Buttler’s captaincy
Several of Buttler’s decisions were scrutinised during a calamitous World Cup defence.
Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson handed their first central contracts by ECB
England Women have once again issued 18 full-time deals.
Jos Buttler admits concerns over poor run of form after West Indies beat England
Buttler was out for three off 13 balls against the West Indies in Antigua.
England suffer four-wicket defeat to West Indies in opening ODI in Antigua
Jos Buttler made his fifth single-figure score in eight ODIs, dismissed for three off 13 balls.
Harry Brook helps England set West Indies 326 as Jos Buttler struggles continue
Brook top-scored with 71 while captain Buttler fell for three in the opening ODI in in Antigua.
Mitchell Johnson: Does David Warner deserve to sign off from Tests on own terms?
Warner expressed his wish to retire from Tests at the end of their series against Pakistan in Sydney next month.