Ollie Robinson: Chris Silverwood gives England bowler no assurances over international future
“There will be an investigation and we will see later”; England head coach Chris Silverwood offered Ollie Robinson no guarantees about his international future once the investigation into the sailor’s historic racist and sexist tweets is complete; Dom Bess added to the team for the second test
England head coach Chris Silverwood says Ollie Robinson’s racist and sexist historical tweets are “ very disappointing ” and says there is “ no room for any form of discrimination ” in cricket
Ollie Robinson received no guarantees about his future in England from head coach Chris Silverwood after the shutdown was indefinitely suspended from international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation.
Robinson, now 27, apologized for the racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013, when he was in his late teens, that were dug up and shared online the day he took his bow test against New Zealand at Lord’s.
The suspension of Robinson by the Cricket Board of England and Wales has been criticized by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who said the decision was “exaggerated” and asked the governing body to “think again”.
While Robinson apologized, both publicly and privately, saying he was “ashamed” and “ashamed” of what he had written, he has been withdrawn from the second test against the Kiwis at Edgbaston, which begins Thursday.
Robinson may have made an impact on the field, taking seven wickets at Lord’s and contributing 42 major runs with the bat lower in the order, but he was not given any guarantees on England after the investigation concluded.
“The investigation will take place and decisions will be made after that,” Silverwood said, speaking after the first test drawn.
“Let’s see what comes out of that first. There will be an investigation and we’ll see after that.
“What should have been one of the best days of Ollie’s career didn’t end well for him. It was disappointing for the group. It was a stark reminder to all of us of the responsibilities we have in the position we hold.
“There is absolutely no place in this game for any form of discrimination. He showed a lot of remorse, he apologized publicly, he apologized in the locker room. I think it’s been a great learning for him.”
“The most important thing for all of us is education. We all strive to be better, none of us is perfect and we all need to make sure we are learning all the time. We can make sure the world is a better place.”
Dowden jumped into the matter on Monday, acknowledging that Robinson’s tweets were “offensive and misleading,” but added that “they are also a decade old and were written by a teenager.” The ECB did not comment when asked about the comments.
Dowden said: “The teenager is now a man and he has rightly apologized. The ECB has gone overboard by suspending him and he should think again.”
Downing Street later said Boris Johnson backed Dowden’s assessment.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said Johnson “supports” the culture secretary’s comments.
“As Oliver Dowden pointed out, these were comments made more than a decade ago, written by someone as a teenager, and for which they have rightly apologized,” the spokesperson said.
Robinson was briefed on his landmark tweets that resurfaced when he left the field at the end of the game on Wednesday by Silverwood, who admitted that England had to temporarily put the problem to rest to focus on the rest of the test.
“He was obviously devastated, ashamed and very sorry,” Silverwood said. “He was quick to accept what had happened. He had to face this.
“It’s not what we wanted, that’s for sure. We still had to go ahead with the test match. That doesn’t mean we ruled it out at all. We will seek education around that to try to improve ourselves.”
Craig Overton may be Robinson’s replacement in Birmingham, but scrutiny could fall on the shutdown, who was suspended for two games after allegedly telling Sussex player Ashar Zaidi to “go back to his own country” in 2015.
Overton has always denied making the comment and did so again in an interview with wisden.com last week, but England has recently stepped up its attempts to combat discrimination in all its forms in cricket.
England and New Zealand shared a ‘Moment of Unity’ at the Home of Cricket last Wednesday, with the hosts wearing T-shirts with anti-discrimination messages, hours before Robinson’s posts on social media surfaced.
“If Craig plays, we’ll take care of that when we get there,” Silverwood said.
England braced themselves for a front-line attack last week, but added Yorkshire player Dom Bess to their squad as a cover for slow left arm Jack Leach before the decisive game of the series against the Black Caps.