RICHARD EDWARDS: Robinson’s verbals have caused a stir already but Australia still back him

RICHARD EDWARDS: Robinson’s verbals have caused a stir already this summer but when he played a season in Sydney, he proved quite a hit

  • Robinson has faced criticism from sections of the Australian fanbase 
  • However, he still has backers Down Under after his spell in Sydney
  • Peter Jackson has opened up on the reputation of Robinson in Australia

The great and the good of Australian cricket have been queuing up to take pot-shots at Ollie Robinson since he gave Usman Khawaja his first-innings send-off at Edgbaston.

But in a small corner of Sydney, Robinson has more backers than barrackers.

Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and Allan Border were hardly shrinking violets during their Test careers — but all three have used some flowery language to describe Robinson’s behaviour after claiming Khawaja’s wicket in Birmingham.

At St George Cricket Club, though, they are fully behind the 6ft 5in bowler who made a big impression when he travelled Down Under to play grade cricket in the winter of 2017-18.

‘Aussies are pretty quick to dish it out but then don’t necessarily like it when they’re on the receiving end,’ says Peter Jackson, the club’s head coach, who put Robinson and his girlfriend Lauren up in his house.

England fell to defeat to Australia in Test One of the Ashes despite an impressive performance

England fell to defeat to Australia in Test One of the Ashes despite an impressive performance

Ollie Robinson has more backers than barrackers in Australia as he made an impression

Ollie Robinson has more backers than barrackers in Australia as he made an impression

Robinson was jubilant after taking the wicket of Cameron Greeon of Australia

Robinson was jubilant after taking the wicket of Cameron Greeon of Australia

‘Listen, you’ve got to be excited when you get a wicket haven’t you? I seem to remember Australia being pretty good at giving more than the odd send-off. I don’t think Khawaja was too bothered by it, and I don’t think Ollie has been too bothered by what everyone has been saying, either.

‘The fact is you can’t do anything in sport without the cameras picking it up. But this is the Ashes, sometimes your emotions run a bit high.’

Robinson’s time in grade cricket played a key role in transforming his career.

The season after his winter in Australia, the seamer took 74 County Championship wickets at an average of 18.

Just three years later he would make his England Test bow against New Zealand at Lord’s. ‘I was coaching this afternoon and showed our fast bowlers a YouTube compilation of all his wickets that season,’ says Jackson. ‘I reckon 70 of those wickets were either caught behind, lbw or bowled. That’s his great strength, he bowls so straight, gets awkward bounce — all three of those dismissals are possible every time he bowls.

‘He was very popular when he was here. It probably took him half a season to get used to the conditions, the Kookaburra ball and the wickets we play on at grade level.

‘There’s a huge sense of pride around the club at the way Ollie’s career has gone. Coming out to Australia is a great way to learn more about your game. You have to bowl a slightly different length to what you do in the UK.

Peter Jackson has come out in support of Robinson (right) after his time Down Under

 Peter Jackson has come out in support of Robinson (right) after his time Down Under

Jackson said 'there’s a huge sense of pride around the club at the way Ollie’s career has gone'

Jackson said ‘there’s a huge sense of pride around the club at the way Ollie’s career has gone’

‘It’s great to see guys come out, play here and then go back home and really kick on. The experience you get playing here and travelling round Australia — which I know he did a bit of — is something that stays with you.’

Robinson is not the only England international to have stayed with the Jacksons. Phil Salt spent a winter there and highly-rated Sussex opener Tom Haines is also among the St George alumni.

Probably the most famous name associated with the club is Josh Hazlewood. ‘Josh plays the odd game in grade cricket, usually when he’s coming back from an injury,’ says Jackson.

‘Back in 2017, he had been injured and Cricket Australia wanted him to come back and bowl a few overs in grade. He and Ollie opened the bowling for us in a game against Campbelltown.

‘I remember him saying how much he enjoyed talking to Josh about the game. Josh is just one of those really nice guys, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, there’s no airs or graces with him.

‘Ollie Pope was playing for Campbelltown in that match and he got a load of runs. I’m not sure Ollie or Josh took a wicket.

‘What will happen at Lord’s? I’ve absolutely no idea but they can’t drop as many catches as they did at Edgbaston can they? I’ll take a 3-2 series win for the Aussies but 25 wickets in the series for Ollie, I think that’s a good compromise.’

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