Home » Ollie Robinson’s podcast antics and fitness issues put England future in doubt

Ollie Robinson’s podcast antics and fitness issues put England future in doubt

RANCHI — Ollie Robinson’s England future is in fresh doubt following far from supportive words from coach Brendon McCullum amid suspicions his off-field interests are affecting his cricket.

The seamer had a horror comeback against India in Ranchi after seven months away from Test cricket, spilling a key catch, bowling six no balls and struggling to hit even 80 miles per hour in his first Test match for seven months.

England feel let down by a player they believe has been distracted by off-field projects, namely starting up a podcast with his partner Mia Baker, a social media influencer who out of all the players’ friends and family has been the only ever-present on this tour.

Management are likely to review whether to allow such an occurrence to happen again on future tours.

England, acutely aware of public perceptions of their group, are also privately dismayed about some of the content of his podcasts, including an ill-advised impression of a Caribbean accent by Robinson in the first-ever episode, revealing he had an issue with his Indian visa on another and boasts about travelling with England on private jets on the latest one this week that was subsequently taken down at the request of management.

McCullum revealed Robinson said his pace was down in Ranchi because he felt a twinge in his back batting while scoring his maiden Test half-century in the first innings.

It was not a ringing endorsement of the 30-year-old from England’s coach, who added: “Everything he did leading into the Test match suggested we’d see not just the Ollie Robinson we’d seen previously but a better version of it.

“For one reason or another it didn’t quite work out for him and obviously he’s not just as disappointed as everyone else, he’s the most disappointed out of everyone.

“Our job is to make sure we get around him and make sure we give him as much support and confidence to be able to go again when the next time arises.

“It’s just sport right? You have great expectations and sometimes you’re not quite able to deliver.”

Unlike his fulsome backing for Jonny Bairstow, the insinuation from McCullum was Robinson may not be picked for next week’s final Test against India at Dharamshala.

It is not the first time Robinson has been criticised by England insiders over his professionalism. Former bowling coach Jon Lewis said Robinson would have to become a “fitter bowler” if he wanted a future in Test cricket following a disappointing Ashes series Down Under.

Robinson admitted Lewis’s harsh words were “true” and responded by working hard on his fitness, but the fact he apparently felt his back again in Ranchi suggests something is amiss.

England cannot get off scot free either as they probably should have given Robinson game time playing for the England Lions in India before this series given how long he has been out of action.

Given his record of 76 wickets at 22.92, Robinson is hard to ignore when he is fit and firing. But if he is not, there are plenty of hungry younger bowlers England can turn to, with Gus Atkinson, Brydon Carse, Matt Potts and Josh Tongue all knocking on the selectors’ door.

Indeed, the feeling is they may decide to move on this summer.