Ollie Robinson’s back

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< 1 minute read

As in his back – his actual back. Also Jofra Archer’s back, Saqib Mahmood’s back and Matt Fisher’s back, as well as Mark Wood’s elbow, Olly Stone’s ankle and Chris Woakes’ knee.

There’s a bit in Kilimanjaro: Going for Broke when one of the four disabled climbers lists how many fully-functioning arms and legs they have between them. We can’t remember the exact numbers, suffice to say it leaves you thinking, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound enough for a mountaineering expedition.”

Similarly, you wonder whether England could field a full seam attack at the minute even if they had access to Frankenbowler technology. Sure, you could use Archer’s legs and Woakes’ arms, but are there enough working backs available?

Robinson is perhaps the weirdest case of all. A back spasm in Hobart, followed by three hi-vis tabarded Tests in the West Indies when everyone had expected him to be the main bowler, and now a tooth infection, food poisoning and further back problems this summer.

Another stress fracture just waiting to be diagnosed? Some sort of anxiety issue? Extreme bad luck? Who knows? Hopefully it’s all resolved soon and we’ll finally be able to write an article headlined, “Ollie Robinson’s back”.

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  1. One thing I got out of this is that there are a lot of ‘Ollies’ and ‘Ollys’ lurking around in English cricket.

    Are they a shortened form of the same first name (Oliver), a result of the parochial nature of cricket selection, or is it akin to the cricketer’s fashion of sticking a ‘y’ on everyone’s surname and covers a variety of first names such Olivia, Olympus, Olliphant, etc., or are Olly and Ollie now legit first names?

    I need to know this.

    1. As we’ve said before, it’s the new Graham/Graeme cricket shibboleth.

      Definitely think it’s the Olympus, Oligarch, Olfactory colourful naming phenomenon and don’t even need to look into it properly to know that this is definitely the best explanation and therefore true.

      1. Aaaah! (in an epiphanic tone)

        …and agreed, thereby giving more credence that what you wrote is true.

  2. The two Ollie Robinsons on the website’s main page certainly tell a story. It’s looks like he’s got a wicket that’s been given not out on review.

  3. Remember Amjad Khan, the Copenhagen-born England one-test wonder who played county cricket for Sussex and Kent? He’s 41 and still playing international cricket for Denmark. Here he is attempting to defend 11 off the last over in a T20I against Finland: https://youtu.be/bltifS5Bp70?t=15235

    Sporting an excellent top-knot which makes it worth the watch even if you don’t care about tense finishes at this level of cricket. Definitely not the same thing as dismissing Ramnaresh Sarwan on Test debut / in your final Test (same thing, sadly).

    Also I fear Finland is a big step down from when Denmark used to play in the county one-day cup, though to be fair they did usually get thrashed. They used to be competitive in World Cup qualifying too, beating Bangladesh en route to the semi-finals in 1979 and 1986, and almost pulling it off in 1990: in their final 2nd stage league match, knowing the winner would progress to the semi-finals, Denmark set 233/9, and Bangladesh won by 3 wickets with 2 balls remaining. (For fans of obscure cricket personalities, that match saw Derbyshire’s Ole Mortensen face off against the “senior” Enamul Haque.)

    Since the start of 2019, when the ICC gave T20I status to associate members, Denmark have lost matches against Jersey, Germany, Guernsey, Sweden, Italy and Finland. In other matches they have managed to beat Sweden, Italy, Finland and Norway, but nobody else. Not quite sure what lesson to draw from this, but lower level associate cricket in Europe does seem rather “flatter” and less hierarchical than it used to be – quite a few countries have a couple of dozen clubs, which seems to be all it takes to assemble a competitive team.

      1. That was a smashing piece Yer Maj. England’s selectors have always given plenty of misfits to chew over but that was a nicely chosen subset of them.

        On the subject of the 1986 ICC Trophy (the qualifier for the 1987 World Cup), Christian Rocca made his debut for Gibraltar in that tournament. A couple of weeks ago he batted for Gibraltar in a T20I against Romania, scoring 14 from 19. At the age of 57, this makes him the third oldest player to have played a T20I. I hope this makes some readers of this site feel a bit younger.

        One of the players on the other side in that match was Marian Gherasim, a Romanian teenager who is the youngest T20I player, having made his debut at the age of 14 years and 16 days against Bulgaria in 2020. I fear this may make some readers now feel a good deal older…


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