Saturday, January 22, 2022

‘He needs to get fitter’: England have ‘candid’ conversation with Robinson about his poor fitness

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The closer has had a decent run but an injury in Hobart after fatigue in Melbourne has raised concerns in the English camp

The 28-year-old bowled brilliantly during the opening session of that fifth Test, dismissing both David Warner and Steve Smith who were pulled up after the second over of the second session, with England confirming he had left the field after suffering a back spasm .

One of England’s main goals after this Ashes series will be to get Ollie Robinson fit for the summer after the Sear collapsed on day one of the final Ashes Test in Hobart.

Robinson’s speeds during that post-dinner single over ranged from 69 to 72 mph, a good 10 mph below his average.

Although he later returned to the field, the Sussex sailor did not bowl again. On a tour where his fitness was questioned, his absence allowed Australia to fight back and finish the day in 241 for six, thanks largely to a brilliant century from Travis Head.

Robinson was rested for the fourth Test in Sydney after looking cooked during the back end of England’s third Test defeat in Melbourne.

Indeed, Robinson’s fitness and the difference between his speeds in his first and second spells compared to his third, fourth and beyond were remarkable.

After showing a similar fallibility at home in 2021, England will need to urge Robinson to get fitter if he is to deliver on the promise made in his first year with the Test team. In fact, it is non-negotiable if he is to be consistently successful at the highest level.

Before that Test, when Robinson was one of five changes to England’s team, Root responded to a question about the seaman’s fitness when referring to Australia’s bowling attack: “One thing that has long owed your team is yours Appearance With their main three sailors they have generally managed to keep themselves fit and available and have acted as a three man attack alongside Nathan Lyon for the past three years.

“In that regard, the way they handled each other physically is a lesson for us. One thing I would say is that the amount of cricket they play compared to us is a bit different. But still, for youngsters coming into this team, there is Test cricket and for county players there are serious lessons to be learned from these top performers who are fit and ready to play. Hopefully this kind of news goes beyond this team and spreads far and wide across the established county.

After the game ended, England bowling coach Jon Lewis admitted that Robinson’s overall fitness is something he needs to focus on seriously after this Ashes tour. “It’s definitely something to work on,” he said. “It’s something he needs to improve on. He has played many games in county cricket. But international cricket is of a higher intensity and is played all year round. So he needs to get used to understanding what it means to be a full-time, year-round international cricketer.

“In these series, too, we are now playing with the times when we really squeezed everything together. So there’s not a lot of rest and recovery between games so he has to deal with that. Is it a concern? That’s one of the things he really needs to work on. He’s shown over the course of the English summer and this series so far that he can put together back-to-back games. But there are definitely areas he needs to work on for sure.

“It’s something he’s going to need if he’s going to consistently perform at this level over a long period of time – he needs to be a fitter bowler. That’s 100 percent. We’ve had these conversations with him and we’ve been pretty open with him. And now it’s up to him to get the job done.”

Ahead of last summer’s County Championship season, Robinson said he took on board what he describes as “improvements” to his preparation after being a member of the reserve squad on England’s tours to Sri Lanka and India. “Just proper nutrition/post-game recovery,” he explained. “England have a really good nutritionist who has helped us all. So that’s a small change I made and just around my cricket. Nothing at play, it’s more my habits like warm ups, working out at the gym, just little things that hopefully will take me to the next level.

It’s the example shown to him in the bio-bubble of Anderson, then 38, and Broad, 34, that resonated most with Robinson. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot both professionally and off the pitch,” he says. “Jimmy is now 38 and probably the fittest he’s ever been. Seeing him work every day is what sticks in my mind – how well he trains and how hard he works.

“I want to make that a habit too and not just an English thing. England drilled that into me – they want me to work as hard for Sussex as they do.

“If I want to have a long international career, I want to do that for the rest of my career. So I feel like I learned a lot from Broady and Jimmy in that regard. Talking to them about their abilities for two or three months was invaluable.

“Hopefully in the winter I’ve had with England I can really start flying with my bowling, gym work and cricket in general.”

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