Ollie Robinson was recalled to England squad on Wednesday for the first two tests next month against India following a racist Twitter row that overshadowed their international debut.
Robinson received an eight-game suspension, including five postponed, for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 that were again revealed during the 27-year-old’s test against New Zealand at Lord’s in June.
But a disciplinary hearing paved the way for the seam against India after it found Robinson had already served a three-game suspension, after being suspended from the second test against New Zealand, then dropping two Twenty20 matches for the Sussex County.
Robinson performed well on his England debut, winning seven wickets – including a total of 4-75 – and realizing a useful 42 in a series opener at Lord’s.
But the Twitter storm meant the first day as an English cricketer ended with a public apology.
He was then suspended from his international duties and missed an eight-wicket loss in the second and final Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, a setback which saw England lose their first round of home tests in seven years .
However, he is now back in the squad for the first two matches of a five-test campaign against India at Trent Bridge (from August 4) and Lord’s (August 12).
England head coach Chris Silverwood made no reference to the fury when he spoke of Robinson’s return in a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Council, saying: “We have selected Ollie Robinson after his seven-wicket test debut against New Zealand.
“Ollie has proven in this test that he has the ability to replicate his exceptional form in the County Championship internationally and we will continue to work with him to develop his career in England.”
Stokes returns to the test
Meanwhile, Ben Stokes returned to the test squad after missing a New Zealand streak where England drummers failed.
Stokes rushed back from a finger injury to lead a makeshift one-day squad in a series victory over Pakistan after all 16 England players originally selected were sidelined by an outbreak of Covid-19 within the team, which forced them to self-isolate.
But all-round star player Stokes rested from a subsequent 2-1 T20 Series victory over Pakistan.
The inclusion of poor left-wing Sam Curran gives England test captain Joe Root an additional full option.
Quick pitcher Jofra Archer (elbow) and Chris Woakes (heel) were both ruled out due to injury.
Goalkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, both of whom remained controversial in the New Zealand series after their stints in the lucrative Indian Premier League, return after James Bracey battled the Black Caps.
Jack Leach and Dom Bess were selected as specialist spinners.
All English players will be available for the first two rounds of the Hundred’s new 100-ball English domestic cricket competition, before joining at Loughborough for a training camp ahead of the first test.
Silverwood, predicting “five outstanding tests,” said: “We are expecting a very competitive series and have selected our strongest team possible.
“The feedback from versatile Ben Stokes and Sam Curran brings a balance that allows us to return to a structure that has proven its worth in Test cricket.
“Ben’s leadership in the Royal London Series, when playing when his finger was not yet 100%, was a hallmark of his character and commitment which keeps the players around him moving forward.”
The former England paceman added: “With Jos and Jonny back in the squad, we’ve added some extra experience and quality that will be needed against the second-ranked team in the world.”
England team of 17:
Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wkt), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley , Ben Stokes, Mark Wood
August 4-8: 1ST TEST, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
August 12-16: 2nd TEST, Lord’s, London
August 25-29: 3RD TEST, Emerald Headingley, Leeds
2-6 Sep: 4TH TEST, Kia Oval, London
Sep 10-14: 5th Test, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester