Cricket

Monty Panesar says Ollie Robinson can provide England with X-factor against India

Monty Panesar believes Ollie Robinson can provide England with the X-factor to beat India in next month’s much-anticipated Test series.

Robinson’s international career started perfectly on the field when he took seven wickets against New Zealand at Lord’s back in June.

But his exploits were completely overshadowed by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager, for which he received an eight-match ban, of which five were suspended for two years.

Ollie Robinson has returned to the England squad for the upcoming Test series with India

Ollie Robinson has returned to the England squad for the upcoming Test series with India 

Robinson took seven wickets on Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's in June but his feat was overshadowed by the re-emergence of offensive tweets from 10 years earlier

Robinson took seven wickets on Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in June but his feat was overshadowed by the re-emergence of offensive tweets from 10 years earlier 

England legend Monty Panesar believes Robinson should play in the upcoming Test series because his height means he can trouble the Indian batsmen

England legend Monty Panesar believes Robinson should play in the upcoming Test series because his height means he can trouble the Indian batsmen 

Having already served the other three games of his ban, Robinson, 27, is in contention for selection for the first Test against India at Trent Badge from August 4.

And former England spinner Panesar believes Robinson is one of the few bowlers that can truly trouble India’s excellent batting line-up.

‘They should play Robinson because he is a high arm bowler and his release is the second-highest in world cricket after [New Zealand’s] Kyle Jamieson,’ Panesar told Sportsmail.

‘The Indian batsmen will struggle with really tall bowlers and, if he plays, that could provide an X-factor that will make the Indian batsmen feel uncomfortable.

‘I was at the World Test Championship final and they couldn’t get Jamieson away. The Indian batsmen average between 30 and 35 but when the bowlers have such a high release point – and Jamieson is about 2.03 metres, with Robinson similar to that – then they’re going to struggle.

The tall figure of Kyle Jamieson celebrates taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara as New Zealand beat India in the World Test Championship final in June

The tall figure of Kyle Jamieson celebrates taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara as New Zealand beat India in the World Test Championship final in June

Jamieson was named man of the match after taking seven wickets during the final

Jamieson was named man of the match after taking seven wickets during the final 

England vs India series 

August 4-8 First Test (Trent Bridge)

August 12-16 Second Test (Lord’s)

August 25-29 Third Test (Headingley)

September 2-6 Fourth Test (The Oval)

September 10-14 Fifth Test (Old Trafford) 

‘I think they should bring him back into the team and that will make the series competitive.

‘He has served his punishment, it was 10 years ago, when he was a teenager. As a teenager, nobody knows what is right and wrong.’

Jamieson took five for 31 in the first innings of the World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl and picked up two more in India’s second innings to help New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory.

It’s a swift rendezvous for England and India after their four-Test series on the subcontinent in February and March.

The flakiness of England’s batting line-up came under the microscope after a first innings total of 578 in their first Test win at Chennai was followed by paltry totals of 134, 164, 112, 81, 205 and 135 in the final three matches en route to a 3-1 series loss.

The current uncertainty over England’s strongest batting line-up, hardly aided by the now-abandoned ‘rest and rotation’ policy, was also in evidence in the Lord’s Test with New Zealand when they declined to chase a victory target of 273.

That lack of ambition was something that alarmed Panesar, who still believes in-form players in the white ball game could yet force their way into the team for the Ashes tour of Australia this winter.

England settled for a draw in the first Test with New Zealand having been set 273 for victory

England settled for a draw in the first Test with New Zealand having been set 273 for victory

Dom Sibley (left) ground out 60 from 207 balls to ensure England earned a fifth day draw

Dom Sibley (left) ground out 60 from 207 balls to ensure England earned a fifth day draw

‘That was a reflection of the Test team at the moment. If it was a time when Kevin Pietersen was playing, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, that sort of team, then we would definitely have chased that because we had the strength and the depth,’ he said.

‘But this team is in a transition phase, they are still trying to work out their top four, there is a lot of inconsistency, even from the guys playing regularly, so when it comes to chasing something, they’re really unsure about it.

‘They didn’t have Ben Stokes or Jos Buttler, maybe with them it might have been a different story. Equally, New Zealand might not have given them such a generous declaration.

‘You’d still like to think they would go for it but it shows where the England team are at the moment.

England will welcome Ben Stokes back for the India series in a major boost to their chances

England will welcome Ben Stokes back for the India series in a major boost to their chances 

‘There’s the likes of Dawid Malan, who’s done really well in ODI and T20 cricket, who’s scored a century in the Ashes in Australia, it could be the ideal time to see what his Test game is like.

‘James Vince is another who should be given another go, he looks good technically. You think ‘why don’t we revisit that?’

‘Jonny Bairstow is constantly in and out, he must think ‘where’s my position in the red ball game?’

‘At some point, I’d like the selectors to be open and if a player is performing well in white ball cricket but has been left out of the Test team, he can get himself back in there.’

Dawid Malan was in good form during the recent one-day series with Pakistan and Panesar has argued he deserves another chance in the Test side

Dawid Malan was in good form during the recent one-day series with Pakistan and Panesar has argued he deserves another chance in the Test side 

James Vince could be worth another shot after scoring a century against Pakistan in the ODIs

James Vince could be worth another shot after scoring a century against Pakistan in the ODIs 

India had no answer to the seaming conditions in England during their last tour in 2018, losing the Test series 4-1 with James Anderson taking 24 wickets.

But Panesar expects the pitches to be set up for this summer’s games to go the distance rather than simply play into the hands of England’s seamers.

‘I think there will be flat wickets. There is huge talk about green pitches versus the spinning decks in India and home advantage but I predict the ECB would want the Test matches to go to a fourth and fifth day for the revenue,’ Panesar, speaking at an event for grassroots sport app Sportside, said.

‘If we have a proper heatwave in August with more sunny days than overcast conditions, India have a much better chance. India are a stronger team with no cloud cover, with cloud cover England are the stronger side.’

Monty Panesar was speaking at an event on behalf of Sportside. Sportside is the innovative mobile app helping to connect millions of grassroots sports participants. Discover more about Sportside and how to download the app here: https://sportside.com/

Former England bowler Monty Panesar passed on his tips to cricketers at Sinjun Grammarians Cricket Club in Wandsworth, London thanks to the Sportside app

Former England bowler Monty Panesar passed on his tips to cricketers at Sinjun Grammarians Cricket Club in Wandsworth, London thanks to the Sportside app 


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