Ignored by Stokes on Day 4, ENG player blasted by Atherton for 'pedestrian' show | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Ignored by Ben Stokes on Day 4, England player gets blasted by Atherton for 'pedestrian' show against India

Feb 27, 2024 02:08 PM IST

Mike Atherton was not impressed with Ollie Robinson's sub-par show against India in Ranchi.

Despite losing the series, England would take the learnings from the first four Tests and use it to revitalize themselves during the 10-day break between Ranchi and Dharamsala games. As Ben Stokes rightly pointed out, India may be 3-1 up, but the quality of cricket England have played has made games a lot more even-sided. In Rajkot, India were 33/3 before Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Sarfaraz Khan bailed them out of trouble and in Ranchi, the same role was played by Dhruv Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav and stitched together a partnership that changed the complex of the game entirely.

Mike Atherton reacted to Ben Stokes' decision to leave out Ollie Robinson. (Getty Images)
Mike Atherton reacted to Ben Stokes' decision to leave out Ollie Robinson. (Getty Images)

Nonetheless, with England playing for pride in Dharamsala, Stokes and Co. need to make a few tough calls, including deciding who the second seamer is going to be. With Mark Wood rested, Ollie Robinson was James Anderson's new-ball partner but the England pacer looked all over the place in both innings. In fact, Robinson was so average that it drew the wrath of former England captain Michael Atherton, who held no punches in rating the 30-year-old quick.

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"Ollie Robinson, I was really disappointed with him in this game. His pace was pedestrian, he was down on pace, Obviously, he got that half century but dropped a catch, he wasn't called upon on the fifth day by Stokes," Atherton said on Sky Sports.

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Not only was Robinson low on pace, but as Atherton mentioned, he put down Jurel in the first innings just after the boy had gone past fifty – he eventually scored 90. Yes, he was instrumental in partnering Joe Root in England's dogged last-wicket pair but the fact that he went wicketless promises to raise alarm bells. Atherton believes Robinson needs to go back and start from scratch for him to prove his effectiveness.

"He looked like a player that had been out of cricket for seven months. And for all the training you do and all the practice sessions you have in Abu Dhabi or whatever, I think he looks like a bowler who needs a good run of game-time now and not necessarily with England either," the former England captain pointed out.

Hussain agrees

While Robinson's shoddy show should come as a big eye-opener, Atherton's former England teammate Nasser Hussain agreed with the assessment and drew comparisons with Andy Caddick. Hussain, who captained Caddick, during their playing days, revealed that the ex-England quick too needed time to warm up and get in the groove before posing any threat.

"I completely agree with that. We had two opening bowlers in [Darren] Gough and Caddick. Gough could just run up and if there was a camera anywhere in the vicinity, he would just run in and bowl as quickly as he could. But someone like Caddick needed to be playing for Somerset time after time to get into the rhythm of the game and the rhythm of bowling and I see that in Ollie Robinson," he said.

"Ollie Robinson as we saw in Pakistan is a very highly skilful bowler, even if there's not a lot in the pitch. He has those skills but he needs to be playing to show those stills. He needs to be of a certain pace, he needs to be in the 80s [mph], mid 80s, not high 70s, and he did look a yard short of a gallop at least. He just looked like he hadn't played for a year and he hadn't. He hadn't played since Headingley so it was a long time."

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