England v South Africa: Ollie Robinson replaces Matthew Potts

England v South Africa: Ollie Robinson replaces Matthew Potts


Ollie Robinson
Ollie Robinson has taken 39 wickets in nine Tests

England have recalled pace bowler Ollie Robinson to their XI for the second Test against South Africa at Old Trafford, starting on Thursday.

Robinson, who replaces Matthew Potts, has not played for England since the fifth Ashes Test in January.

Captain Ben Stokes said Robinson, 28, has been chosen to exploit the greater amount of bounce expected from the pitch in Manchester.

England are 1-0 down in the series after losing by an innings at Lord’s.

Robinson enjoyed an impressive first year in Test cricket after making his debut last summer, taking 39 wickets in nine matches at an average of 21.

However, his fitness was publicly criticised by England bowling coach Jon Lewis during the Ashes and he has been hampered by injuries since then.

He missed all three Tests in the West Indies in March with a back problem, which eventually required an injection in June.

The right-armer returned to action at the end of July and played for England Lions against South Africa at the beginning of this month, taking five wickets as the tourists were beaten by an innings.

“Everything that we’ve seen in training and how he’s been around the group is exactly what we want,” said Stokes.

“We all know the quality of bowler he is because when he’s played for England his skill set is incredible.

“I’m very excited for him to be able to put the England shirt on again. It’s something he’s worked very hard for and he fully deserves it.”

Stokes also revealed he has had “honest” conversations with Robinson about the Sussex man’s fitness.

“I feel that’s something people deserve,” said Stokes. “Rather than just have a conversation to get through it easy, I’d rather let him know exactly where I stand.

“It enables him to go away and work on what has been asked of him. All I can say is he’s done that to the absolute extreme.

“All the feedback Robbo has got from myself, the coach, the people who have helped him get where he is now, has been nothing but positive.”

Stokes also had praise for 23-year-old Potts, who is left out for the first time in five Tests after making his England debut at the beginning of the summer.

“It’s very tough for Matty to miss out but in the five games that he’s played he has really announced himself on the big stage.

“We’ve got to give him a lot of credit to handle the decision so professionally at such a young age. For a 23-year-old to understand the bigger picture and not be throwing his toys out the pram was something that I think shouldn’t be overlooked.”

South Africa powered to victory inside three days at Lord’s thanks largely to magnificent performance from a four-pronged pace attack that dismissed England for 165 and 149.

“The wicket assisted the bowlers at Lord’s, we have to take that into account,” said South Africa captain Dean Elgar.

“You have to put the ball in the right area and they did that. Our bowlers are leading our pack at the moment and are extremely hungry for success.

“They have to bring the intensity and heat again, and we have to adapt to the conditions.

“I reckon they can get much better. They are still pretty fresh.”

The second day of the Test will see the release of a new documentary on Stokes, where he details how he has dealt with mental health issues.

On Monday, Stokes revealed there were times when he thought his career was over, while on Tuesday former captain Joe Root praised the current skipper’s “bravery” for speaking up.

“I think it was a pretty nervous day for me, going into what I went through and having my team-mates there,” said Stokes on Wednesday. “It’s been nothing but good so far.

“To be here today as England Test captain is something hopefully a lot of people can take a lot of promise from and realise that even when you do feel like you are down and dark you can bounce back and achieve things you want to.”

England XI for second Test v South Africa: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.

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