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Thursday, July 1, 2021

wrong tweet years ago, lands a KO on debutant Cricketer


The first Lord's Test in two years had seemed destined for a draw after losing the entire third day to rain, and drawn it surely was as the teams shook hands at just gone 7pm on the final evening.  .. .. it was different feeling for the 3 debutants – Devon Conway celebrated with a double in his first innings ! James Bracey could not open his account in the 6 balls he faced .. then there was the other man who is feeling bad after his impressive debut.  Only two England bowlers this century have claimed more than seven wickets on Test debut, while only Rory Burns scored more runs in England's first innings.  Ollie Robinson's 42 played a significant role in helping England avoid the follow-on.

The match was meandering to a listless draw but there was peril and intrigue along the route, as New Zealand sprung a declaration on England after a brief shower brought about an early lunch. The carrot of chasing 273 in 75 overs had been dangled, though England were clearly wary of the offer. The home side looked outmatched for much of this first Test and the nerves were palpable when they fell to 56 for 2 shortly before tea, a wicket away from their youthful middle order being exposed.

Away from the ground, the debutant  Ollie Robinson has been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation following historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013. As a result, Robinson is unavailable for selection for the second Test against New Zealand starting at Edgbaston on Thursday. Announcing his suspension on Sunday, the ECB confirmed that Robinson will leave the England camp immediately and return to his county, Sussex.

Robinson issued an apology on Wednesday after admitting to posting "racist and sexist" comments on Twitter as a teenager. News of the tweets emerged shortly after Robinson walked onto the field at Lord's in his Test debut earlier that day. It was also just after England and New Zealand players had stood on the side of the field shortly before the start of the first Test in a 'moment of unity' with the home players wearing T-shirts which denounced various forms of discrimination.

Speaking after the drawn first Test, in which Robinson took a total of seven wickets - with 4 for 75 and 3 for 26 - and scored 42 in England's first innings, Joe Root, the England captain, said that while Robinson's debut had been "exceptional" from an on-field performance point of view, his historical actions off-field were unacceptable.  "But in regards to the stuff that's happened off the field, it's not acceptable within our game. We all know that. He addressed the dressing room straight away. He obviously spoke to you guys and other media outlets straight away, fronted up to it. He showed a lot of remorse from that point onwards. You can see it's very genuine from how he's been around the group and the team.

Ollie Robinson apologised for posting 'racist and sexist' comments on Twitter as a teenager.   Former Cricketer, Graham Thorpe said Ollie Robinson showed 'character' in aftermath of Twitter storm. "I think it's a great lesson for everyone within our game that we can all do more. We all have to keep looking to educate ourselves, trying to better the environment for everyone, trying to be as inclusive as we can, keep making everyone feel comfortable to play what a wonderful sport we have."

              The ECB promised to conduct a full invstigation once the Tweets emerged. After play on Wednesday, Robinson said: "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. 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. I would like to unreservedly apologise to anyone I have offended, my teammates and the game as a whole in what has been a day of action and awareness in combatting discrimination from our sport."

The ECB has been accused of going "over the top" in its punishment of Ollie Robinson by a UK government minister. Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS), called on the ECB to think again after it suspended Robinson from international cricket pending a "disciplinary investigation" into tweets he made in 2012 and 2013, comments which were later supported by Boris Johnson, the prime minister. The tweets, written when Robinson was aged 18 and 19, contained both racist and sexist comments as well as unsavoury references to Madeleine McCann and Gary Speed.  The British PM, Boris Johnson has today backed England cricket star Ollie Robinson after he was suspended over racist and sexist tweets posted when he was a teenager. Downing Street  revealed that PM agrees with minister Oliver Dowden that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has 'gone over the top' by suspending the fast-bowler.

However, Labour have backed the ECB, with shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens saying : 'It is right that the ECB takes the action that they think is necessary and appropriate to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination in their sport. 'They should not be criticised for doing so by the Secretary of State.'    

It was an impressive debut but – one needs to pay for the wrong actions, albeit few years have rolled by, in between.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th June 2021.

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