England call for Yorkshire’s Dom Bess as Prime Minister agrees Ollie Robinson’s ban was ‘over the top’
England plumped for an all-seam frontline attack last week but they have added off-spinner Bess to their squad as cover for slow left-armer Jack Leach ahead of the series decider against New Zealand.
Bess recorded fine figures of 35-15-51-4 as Yorkshire enjoyed a nail-biting victory over Sussex in the County Championship at Headingley as England were drawing the first Test at Lord’s.
Bess, who took 12 wickets in the series win in Sri Lanka at the start of the year before struggling for consistency in India, should be able to train with England from tomorrow after 48 hours of managed isolation.
“Jack’s absolutely fine,” said England coach Chris Silverwood. “The reason we’ve added Dom is that any cover we may need has to be in here with us.
“If Jack was to feature, we would need back-up for him, in terms of concussion replacements and things like that. If we are looking at a spinner and Jack gets injured leading into it, then we will need someone else there.”
Ollie Robinson has received no guarantees about his England future from Silverwood after the seam bowler was indefinitely suspended from international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation.
Robinson, 27, issued an apology for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013, when he was in his late teens, that were unearthed and shared online on the day he made his Test bow at Lord’s.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s assessment that Robinson’s suspension was “over the top”.
The former Yorkshire bowler has been suspended pending a disciplinary investigation by the England and Wales Cricket Board, which drew a surprising rebuke from Secretary of State Dowden, who waded into the matter on Monday morning.
While Dowden acknowledged Robinson’s tweets were “offensive and wrong”, he added they “are also a decade old and written by a teenager”.
Mr Dowden said: “The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised.
“The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.”
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said afterwards: “As Oliver Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago, written by someone as a teenager, and for which they have rightly apologised.”
While Robinson said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” of his past tweets, he has been stood down from the second and final Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, which gets under way on Thursday. And he has been given no assurances about his England future after the probe has concluded.
“The investigation will happen and any decisions will be made after that,” said Silverwood.
“Let’s see what comes of it first. There’ll be an investigation and we’ll see after that.
“What should have been one of the greatest days of Ollie’s career didn’t end well for him.”
The ECB is looking into claims a second England player posted “historic offensive material”.
Wisden.com has unearthed a tweet, publishing its content but concealed the cricketer’s identity because he was under the age of 16 at the time.
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