Ollie Robinson has vowed to “get in New Zealand’s faces” and add an “edge” to the England attack if he makes his Test debut against the Black Caps at Lord’s.
Robinson, 27, headed into the 2021 county season with Sussex having taken 159 first-class wickets across the previous three campaigns at an average of 17.59 and bagged 29 in five matches at an average of 14.72 this term before linking up with England ahead of Wednesday’s first Test.
However, the seamer – who has spent time in England’s biosecure bubble during the coronavirus pandemic – says he will bring aggression as well as skill if selected against Kane Williamson’s men.
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Speaking to reporters, Robinson said: “I would say I am a wholehearted cricketer. As soon as I cross the white line there is a different edge to me which people might not have seen from county cricket.
He is skilful, hits good line and length and is very accurate, while he is also aggressive and in-your-face, the sort of bowler you could get uncomfortable against, not necessarily because of the pace but because of the hostility. He is a spiky character, which I like, and I think he will be up for the challenge
Ex-Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien on Ollie Robinson
“I will be getting in New Zealand’s faces and trying to gee the boys up a bit. I can bring that extra edge hopefully. It’s verbals but also body language – being up and about. I will be going fairly hard.
“A few interviews I have done have called it white-line fever and that I am a changed character when I go on the field. It gives me that extra boost when I am able to go at players, bowl at better players and then go at them.
“I know [New Zealand’s] Ross Taylor and Williamson fairly well from playing with them at Sussex and Yorkshire. That probably makes it a little bit easier.
“It may be harder on the first day, I may have a few nerves but [aggression] is my way of combatting that, taking my thought elsewhere and getting into the game.”
Robinson is not blessed with the express pace of his injured Sussex team-mate Jofra Archer but believes he has the quality to succeed at Test level.
He also revealed the extent of the research he has done as he prepares to face New Zealand and even disclosed his plans for Black Caps captain Williamson, the top-ranked Test batter in the world.
Robinson said: “I have to back my skill and ability in Test cricket. There are people who average 21 in Test cricket who bowl slower than I do.
“I will use all my attributes – my height, my skill – and I hope it will stand me in good stead. I feel like if I get my chance I am ready. I don’t feel too nervous at the moment. I feel I should take to it fairly well.
He is not going to bowl at 90mph, he is a gear down from that, but he is so consistent and lands it in a shoebox all day. He is a tall man and can move it both ways off the seam. He is always a threat, attacking both edges. He is frugal as well. He doesn’t go for runs.
Cricket journalist Adam Collins on Ollie Robinson
“I have done a lot [of research] on New Zealand’s top four. I have watched a lot of footage and been trying to work out how I am going to go about getting them out and setting them up.
“Williamson is the main one. It looks like swinging it away from him, pulling him across the crease and then using the nip-backer to get him lbw is a solid option. That will be plan A and if he gets a few more we’ve got a few plan Bs and Cs in the background.
“I would say research and my fitness are the two main areas I have improved on.”
Robinson was released by Yorkshire back in 2014 due to a lack of professionalism, at which time former Australia seamer Jason Gillespie was head coach at Emerald Headingley.
Robinson joined Sussex a year later and was then reunited with Gillespie when the latter took the coaching reins at Hove in late 2017.
“He has helped me with my bowling but also off the field as well, in terms of being professional and having that elite mentality. He has played a big part in the last five or six years of my career,” Robinson added of Gillespie, who left Sussex at the end of the 2020 season to take up a role in his homeland.
“It was strange when I saw [he was taking over at Sussex] but we spoke over the phone before he joined and cleared the air a little bit.
“We are all grown ups and moved forward from there. It’s a great relationship and I still speak to him now.”
Robinson also said England’s players will speak over Zoom on Monday about how to show their support for racial equality and social justice after managing director of cricket, Ashley Giles, hinted the side could reassert their backing having stopped taking the knee last summer.
Watch the first Test between England and New Zealand, at Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Wednesday.
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