England bowler Ollie Robinson is likely to be dropped for the second Test against New Zealand next week, in the wake of the row over his racist and sexist tweets.
Robinson impressed in taking two more wickets on his Test debut overnight, ending with figures of 4-75, but the England and Wales Cricket Board is understood to be determined to make an example of him as it tries to root out discrimination in cricket.
The ECB launched an investigation into Robinson’s conduct – focussing on tweets he sent in 2012 and 2013 which included racist and sexist language – on Thursday morning and is set to drop him from the squad for the second Test, which begins at Edgbaston next Thursday. The investigation could yet lead to him being ruled out of some of the side’s upcoming series against India too.
The governing body will also improve its due diligence processes and possibly look to use an external company to vet social media accounts of new players. The ECB plans to step-up its collaboration with the Professional Cricketers Association on education programmes.
Robinson apologised to his teammates in the Lord’s dressing room after the emergence of his posts on Thursday. He made it clear he wanted to take responsibility for his actions, which is understood to have gone down well with senior members of the squad.
But that is unlikely to spare him severe sanction by the ECB, which is particularly keen to take action given its anti-discrimination campaign that saw England’s players line up wearing t-shirts with messages in a “moment of unity” before play on on the first day of the test.
“He had to say sorry to the dressing room, he had to say sorry to the world about what he did,” said Graham Thorpe, England’s assistant coach.
“So from that perspective it’s very hard for him but he knows he made mistakes. So at the end of the day, that’s why he had to make those apologies. But in our dressing room, we had to support him as well.”
Thorpe praised Robinson’s bowling on the second day, when he added the wickets of Colin de Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson.
“We were really pleased, actually, that he showed good character and he had to be pretty resilient because of what he’s done. That’s still not easy, then to go back out onto the stage and perform and I thought his level of performance was exceptional so far in that first innings.
“We had to stick together. We had to talk about it, we had to get it out and we had to come back in fresh this morning and stand up and do our jobs as well.”
On the field, England enjoyed a good day. New Zealand, who were 246-3 and 288-3 at one point, lost their last seven wickets for 90 as England fought back impressively. Mark Wood bowled with good speed to claim 3-81, but Stuart Broad’s wicketless run in Test cricket extended to five innings, going back to England’s tour of Sri Lanka in January.
In response, England lost two early wickets with both Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley perishing cheaply. But Rory Burns and Joe Root shared an unbroken 93-run stand to push England to 111-2 at the close, a deficit of 267 runs.
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