Sunday, January 16, 2022

Robinson said he needed to get fitter to cope with the demands of Test cricket

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Ollie Robinson has been told to work harder on his fitness after a back spasm forced him out of England attack on day one of the fifth Ashes Test.

Robinson’s ball in hand skills are unquestionable and he confirmed his ability to compete with the best in the world by dismissing Australian pairing David Warner and Steve Smith in a high-class opening spell in Hobart for ducks

That took his series tally to 11 wickets at an average of 23.45, making him England’s most effective bowler on his first Ashes tour, but there are clear concerns within the camp about his physical condition.

The 28-year-old has shown a tendency to slow down during games, sat out the fourth Test with a sore shoulder and suffered from back pain after just eight overs here in Hobart.

That left England with just three specialized bowlers for the remainder of the day, a body punch Ben Stokes was already unable to bring in due to a lateral strain.

Australia conceded against a flimsy attack and rebounded from 12 to 3 as Travis Head’s attacking century took them to 241 to 6 as rain brought an early end.

Bowling coach Jon Lewis spoke for the camp at the end of the day and came prepared with a message for Robinson.

“He’s going to have to learn to take care of himself, probably better than he’s doing right now,” he said.

“It’s definitely something he needs to work on and it’s something he needs to improve. He has played many games in county cricket but international cricket is of a higher intensity and is played all year round.

“He needs to get used to understanding what it means to be a year-round international cricketer.

“It’s something he’s definitely looking at and we’re working with him on that. It’s something he’ll need if he’s going to perform consistently at this level over a long period of time. He must be a fitter bowler. That’s 100 percent.

“We’ve had these conversations with him and been pretty open with him, and now it’s up to him to get the job done.”

Robinson was sent back into the field hoping his problems would ease overnight. If he hadn’t stayed on the field, he wouldn’t have been allowed to bowl right away, but sometimes when he was moving cautiously in the outfield, his teammates’ patience seemed to dwindle.

“Obviously losing one of the closers has a huge impact on the rest of the day. He bowled fantastically well,” said Lewis.

“He gets a lot of bounce and that has caused problems for Australia. But back cramps can come and go, we hope we can walk again and we can get him out of there.

“He’s been trying to stay on the field so if he comes in well he’ll be available to bowl.”

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