England bowler Ollie Robinson has been condemned across the cricket world after an expletive-laden tirade towards Usman Khawaja after picking up the wicket of the Aussie centurion on a rain-soaked day three of the first Ashes Test. England will look to build on a 35-run lead after slumping to 2-28 in their second innings when play ended early on day three, following two rain delays.
Khawaja's majestic 141 set the Aussies up for their total of 386, before the tourists struck for two England wickets in quick succession when play resumed after the first short rain delay. The Aussies used the gloomy conditions to their advantage, with Pat Cummins removing Ben Duckett after a great catch from Cam Green, before Scott Boland had Zak Crawley caught behind on 7 in the space of 20 minutes after play resumed.
Joe Root then survived multiple lbw and caught behind appeals before more rain returned to wash away the rest of the day. However, it was Robinson's wicket of Khawaja earlier in the day that stole many of the headlines, with the England bowler heard yelling "f*** off, you f***ing prick" when he bowled the Aussie batter for 141.
Disgusting carry-on by Ollie Robinson.
— Paul Buck (@paulie_6060) June 18, 2023
The wicket had as much to do with Ben Stokes' bizarre field setting, with the England captain having six men in close on either side of the batter to tempt him into over the top. The plan ultimately worked, but fans insisted Robinson showed a lack of class and sportsmanship to swear in Khawaja's face after getting him out, with many labelling it a "disgusting" act from the Englishman.
Ollie Robinson is a disgusting human and should be fined 100% of his match fee for his distasteful words to such a good batsman
What was the reason behind his send-off, specifically to Khawaja?#Ashes https://t.co/zahMCMUcYq
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) June 18, 2023
Think it's pretty classless from Robinson. Celebrate your wicket & move on. Let Khawaja get the deserved applause for a great innings https://t.co/iz6owwyW54
— Tayyib Abu (@TayyibAbu1) June 18, 2023
Cricket Twitter makes me laugh. All of you defending Ollie Robinson's F-bomb Khawaja send-off today would have a totally different take if it was Virat Kohli telling Joe Root to f*ck off, you f*cking prick 🤷♂️
I don't want anyone doing it. Do you want your kids doing that?
— James Buttler | Cricket Badger Podcast 🏏🦡🇺🇦 (@cricket_badger) June 18, 2023
Support England but hope Ollie Robinson is fined for his language towards Khawaja. Disgraceful. #Ashes2023
— H 🦋 (@heartofmatcha) June 18, 2023
Ollie Robinson defends fiery spray
Speaking to reporters after the day's play, Robinson defended his actions in the wake of the backlash against him. "It's my first home Ashes. To get the big wicket at the time was special for me," he said.
"We all want that theatre of the game, so I am here to provide it." Asked about how his reaction looked to the cricket world or whether it put a target on his head in Australia's camp, Robinson was clearly not fazed.
"I don't really care how it is perceived to be honest, it's the Ashes, it's professional sport," he said. "If you can't handle that, what can you handle?"
The paceman would not comment when pressed on whether he thought he would be sanctioned by match officials. "When you're in the heat of the moment and you have the passion of the Ashes, that can happen," Robinson said.
"We've all seen Ricky Ponting and other Aussies do the same to us, and just because the shoe is on the other foot, it's not received well."
Robinson is no stranger to controversy. He attracted attention on the day of his Test debut when historic racial and sexist slurs posted on social media by him surfaced, prompting an apology and suspension. Aussie wicketkeeper Alex Carey said he did not see the incident and for what it was worth, his side didn't appear too fussed by it.
The comments from Robinson were part of a dramatic seven-minute press conference in which he also accused the Aussies of negative tactics - particularly their defensive field settings aimed at blunting England's aggressive 'Bazball' approach. Robinson also took a shot at Australia's tail end after claiming the tourists have three No.11s with Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland and Josh Hazlewood in the side.
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