Oliver Edward Robinson
December 01, 1993, Margate, Kent
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
King's School, Canterbury
The 2021 season was one Ollie Robinson will never forget - for reasons good and bad. It was the year he not only firmly established himself in the England Test side, but ended the summer as his country's leading fast bowler and the year he joined a 20-strong group of players on new ECB central contracts spanning all formats. It was also the year he saw his career flash before his eyes when some offensive social media posts he had made as a teenager in 2012 and 2013 surfaced as he was making his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's. Robinson claimed seven wickets for the match and scored 42 in his maiden innings but was stood down at the conclusion pending a disciplinary hearing. He was banned for eight matches - five of those suspended for two years - and fined £3200.
Robinson apologised unreservedly and returned cricket-wise as though he had never been away, recalled for England's Tests against India where he bowled more overs than anyone else in the series and was leading wicket-taker with 21 at 21.55, including five-wicket hauls at Trent Bridge and Headingley.
After moving from his home in Kent to Yorkshire, where his stepfather - former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace - was then second-team coach, Robinson had his Yorkshire contract terminated in 2014 due to "a number of unprofessional actions", involving poor timekeeping and less than perfect attendance at training sessions. By the start of 2021 however, Robinson was a 27-year-old father in the frame for Test selection after an impressive Lions tour of Australia and 137 wickets - the most of any seamer - over the previous two Championship seasons, not to mention spending the best part of five months in England's bio-secure training bubbles during 2020.
A tall bowler who finds good bounce despite not being the quickest, Robinson has invited comparisons with Josh Hazlewood and cited Glenn McGrath as a source of inspiration. After Second XI stints for Hampshire and Essex, Robinson signed for Sussex on a short-term deal. In April 2015, some 10 months since leaving Yorkshire, he notched up his maiden first-class century while on debut. With No. 11 Matthew Hobden, on a sunny day at Chester-Le-Street, he put on 164 runs for the final wicket against Durham and surpassed a 107-year record for the best tenth-wicket partnership for Sussex.
Robinson quickly built a reputation at Sussex as an adaptable county player capable of occasional outstanding contributions. But his consistency under the guidance of new coach Jason Gillespie - who had also coached him at Yorkshire - in 2018 came as a surprise. Robinson took 74 Division Two wickets as Sussex narrowly missed promotion, second only to Kent's New Zealand international Matt Henry.
In 2019, he furthered his reputation as one of the leading new-ball bowlers in the county system, taking 63 Championship wickets including 8 for 34 (and 14 for 135 in the match) against Middlesex. His form on the England Lions' tour of Australia in early 2020 - he took seven wickets in a crushing win over Australia A at the MCG - earned him further attention and, ultimately entry to the England squad.
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