‘We’re lucky to have him’: Stokes backs Ollie Robinson after England recall

Ollie Robinson returns for England’s must-see second Test against South Africa on Thursday with captain Ben Stokes insisting any team would be lucky to have him.

The Sussex tailor was the star of the show last summer, taking 28 wickets from 19 runs in his first five Tests and knocking out Virat Kohli three times, only to have his fitness let him down during the campaign doomed to the ashes of the League. winter and incites seven months Absence from England.

Looking fit again and fresh off five wickets against South Africa for the Lions a fortnight ago, Robinson represents the only change in the English XI after the defeat in heats at Lord’s – he replaces Matt Potts in attack – as Stokes’ side look to level the series in Manchester and set up a decider at the Oval.

Stokes said: “I’m very happy that he can put the England shirt back on, and it’s something he’s worked very hard for and he fully deserves it.”

A traditionally rebounding Old Trafford ground was cited as the main reason for the switch, with Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum otherwise showing loyalty to the side which lost 20 wickets in 82.4 overs; Zak Crawley, the subject of much debate during a flat summer at the top of the order, is off again.

Robinson knows a little more about that level of scrutiny after finding himself a passenger in the Hobart test due to back spasms and receiving a direct public assessment of his fitness from bowling coach Jon Lewis. Stokes, who has since taken over as captain, kept in touch with the 6ft 5in right arm during the resulting stay in the desert.

Stokes said: “I think it was obviously a very difficult time for Ollie because it wasn’t the fact that his form was letting him down, it was his body.

Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.


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The England team will face South Africa in the second test


Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.

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“I’ve been very honest and truthful with Robbo. I think that’s something people deserve; rather than just having a conversation to get me off easy, I’d rather let him know exactly where I stand. It allows him to step away and work on what was asked of him, all I can say is he did it to the extreme.

“[And] I told him that any team he plays for is very lucky to have him because he has what he has as a bowler. So, like I said, I’m very excited. He fully deserves it. And I can’t wait for it to come out and show what it’s all about.

On Potts, the 23-year-old dressmaker from Durham who took 20 wickets in his first five Tests, Stokes added: “It’s very hard for Matty to miss, but what he’s done in the five games, it’s taking a county cricketer with a lot of promise, to really announce himself on the big stage.

“We have to give him a lot of credit, handling the decision so professionally at such a young age. The selection was based on what we thought was the best bowling attack suitable for that particular court and he understood perfectly.

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