Can Ollie Robinson turn around England vs India test no 4?

Ollie Robinson, who replaces Mark Wood in the fourth England vs India Test at Ranchi, is every inch the bad boy fast bowler.

Index finger firmly on his lips, gesturing at a batsman for an expletive laden farewell after he probably knocked his stumps out, telling him to shut up is and enduring image, but not an endearing one.’

Ollie Robinson has been mocked as a ‘124 kph nothing’ or as ‘No 1 Villain’ by cricketers and the media alike.

Robinson, typically, would defend himself, saying, ‘If you can’t handle that, what can you handle?”’

He would observe ‘I think we’ve all seen Aussies do the same to us, and just because the boot’s on the other foot it’s not received well.’

Against India, he has turned Virat Kohli into the old West Delhi boy with his aggression.

Robinson however writes about his demeanour saying ‘I think in those big moments I sometimes forget where I am. And there’s a thousand cameras on me! I’m not normally an explicit sort of person when I get a wicket, it’s normally just a big roar, or my eyes go a bit crazy.’

Even in the nets, he makes the ball gesture as much as he does.

Whether it’s bouncers on his England teammates or the nippers that go for the ribs, he would keep on bowling, with undiminished energy, as batters changed.

In one instance, an England support staff had to plead him to get the ball from his hands so that one of his spinners could catch some practice.

Immediately, he would pad up and barge into another nets for some batting practice.

In short, he might just be the injection of intensity and vigour that a tiring ‘Bazball-defensive’ England might require.

Ollie Robinson has had great success on flat pitches in Pakistan as well, during England’s successful tour of 2022, removing Babar Azam twice in the Multan Test.

England captain Ben Stokes could have weighed in India’s torment against tall bowlers like Kyle Jamieson and Marco Jansen as a factor in selecting the 6’5″ Robinson.

The tools he brings are different to Mark Wood, his line is far more disciplined and seams both into and away from the right-hander, akin to what Mohammed Shami can do for India.

Cheteshwar Pujara, another Test batting great, who would become a friend of his at Sussex, is also one of his victims.

Ollie Robinson doesn’t use bounce as his primary weapon, as most tall fast bowlers are tempted to, but an ancillary device.

If the surface tends to abet variable bounce, it would abet the quick, but subtlety of lengths is where he shines, which  could help England pick up ten wickets.

His Sussex colleagues call him ‘badger,’ because he spends countless hours researching about the batsmen he would face.

Jason Gillespie, his coach at Yorkshire and Sussex, would reveal to The Guardian:

‘I would say he is comfortably the most researched and well-prepared fast bowler I have come across in professional cricket. He does his homework and comes to team meetings just full of ideas. He watches footage, gets information and formulates plans for each batsman with either the new or old ball.’

Sacked from Yorkshire for multiple disciplinary breaches, ban from the national side, personal challenges have, by his own admission, made him a mature and aware cricketer.

England would want Robinson to channel all the energy, aggression and relentlessness at Ranchi.

A bit of verbal vitriol and bloodshot stares would make for some drama too, as the series trundles on with India firmly in the driving seat at the moment.

Ollie Robinson