England bowler's Test debut overshadowed by 'inexcusable' tweets

·6-min read
Pictured here, England quick Ollie Robinson celebrates a wicket against New Zealand.
England quick Ollie Robinson's Test debut was overshadowed by his shocking historical tweets. Pic: Getty

England fast bowler Ollie Robinson has been forced to apologise after a number of his shocking historical tweets were exposed on the same day he made his Test debut.

The 27-year-old led England's attack with 2-50 on the first day of the two-match series against New Zealand, but his performance was overshadowed by an extraordinary social media scandal.

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Robinson fronted the media after stumps on day one of the first Test at Lord's to face questions about a series of racist and sexist tweets he made as a teenager.

The tweets, dating back to 2012, left Robinson in an especially difficult position given both teams had lined up before play for a 'Moment of Unity' designed to show their opposition to discrimination within cricket.

"On the biggest day of my career so far, I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public," Robinson said after stumps.

"I want to make it clear that I'm not racist and I'm not sexist."

"I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks."

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England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison added Robinson would now face a disciplinary process.

"Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of colour, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable," said Harrison.

"We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination and there are rules in place that handle conduct of this nature."

Given the disgusting nature of the historical tweets, the backlash against Robinson has been understandable.

However, the fact they were made when he was 18 and have resurfaced nine years later on the same day he made his England debut, have left the cricket world divided.

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Debutants shine on day one

Controversy aside, Robinson's debut was also overshadowed in a sporting sense by New Zealand's Devon Conway, who justified New Zealand's show of faith with a deeply impressive century on his own Test debut.

Conway rewarded the decision to include him at Tom Blundell's expense with a series of punchy drives and stout defence in a self-assured 136 not out, becoming the sixth batsman to make a debut hundred at the Home of Cricket.

The superb knock helped the tourists reached 3-246 at stumps on day one.

Seen here, Devon Conway salutes his teammates after a century on debut for New Zealand.
Devon Conway scored a sensational century on Test debut for New Zealand at Lord's. Pic: Getty

James Anderson dismissed Kane Williamson for the seventh time - the most success any bowler has had against the Kiwi captain - but it was a rare moment of joy for the Lancastrian as he equalled the record for most England caps.

Robinson was spirited after being preferred to Craig Overton but there was no room for a specialist spinner in England's XI on a day where the hosts played in front of a home crowd for the first time since the summer of 2019.

They worked themselves into a position of promise after New Zealand slipped to 114 for three in mid-afternoon but Conway and Henry Nicholls (46no) put on an unbroken 132-run stand to subdue Joe Root's side.

Unlike New Zealand's last visit to St John's Wood - when they were beaten by England in a dramatic 2019 World Cup final - there were few fireworks at the start of this two-match series.

The Black Caps have, though, laid the foundations to go big in their first innings even if England are unlikely to be too downcast after their attack put in a wholehearted effort on a pitch that offered them very little.

Robinson was able to exploit a fraction of movement to bowl Latham via the inside edge then trap Ross Taylor lbw, but while New Zealand were never really able to accelerate at any point, there seemed to be no demons in the track.

with agencies

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