England v New Zealand - Former Yorkshire bowler Ollie Robinson “embarrassed” and “ashamed” over racist tweets

England seamer Ollie Robinson says he is “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by historical racist and sexist tweets he sent after they surfaced on the day he made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.

England's Ollie Robinson during his England debut at Lord's. Pictures: PA

Former Yorkshire bowler Robinson was the pick of the England bowlers with 2-50 on the opening day of the first Test of the English summer but his performance was overshadowed when tweets he made in 2012 and 2013 came to light.

It came on the same day as England and New Zealand shared a ‘Moment of Unity’ as they took a stand against racism, religious intolerance, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and ageism.

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Robinson, 27, said in a statement: “On the biggest day of my career so far, I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public.

England's Ollie Robinson celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Tom Latham.

“I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and I’m not sexist. I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks.

“I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that period, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets.”

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison condemned Robinson’s historical tweets and insisted an investigation would be opened as part of a disciplinary process.

“I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England men’s player has chosen to write tweets of this nature, however long ago that might have been,” he said in a statement.

“Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of colour, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this. We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination and there are rules in place that handle conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process.

“Our England men’s team, alongside others from the ECB and our partners across the game, worked together today to create a moment of unity.

“Using today’s spotlight to reaffirm our commitment to driving forward an anti-discrimination agenda. Our commitment to that effort remains unwavering, and the emergence of these comments from Ollie’s past reiterates the need for ongoing education and engagement on this issue.”

Robinson was sacked by Yorkshire in 2014, as reported in yesterday’s The Yorkshire Post, amidst rumours of poor timekeeping, silly misdemeanours and even turning up to play at the wrong ground.

Robinson was sacked for three undisclosed serious breaches of discipline at Yorkshire over a nine-month period, along with a string of lesser offences, which left Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, bemoaning the loss of a player he had identified as having the potential to become “a very good cricketer”.

That potential has since been realised, Robinson taking 279 first-class wickets at 21.04 and scoring 1,667 runs at 22.22 having found a new lease of life at Sussex.

On the field, Devon Conway justified New Zealand’s show of faith with a deeply impressive century on Test debut as England’s all-seam frontline attack toiled for scant reward on an unresponsive Lord’s surface.

South Africa-born Conway combined a series of punchy drives and stout defence in a self-assured 136 not out, becoming the sixth batsman to make a debut hundred at the Home of Cricket, as the tourists reached 246-3 at stumps.

James Anderson dismissed Kane Williamson for the seventh time – the most success any bowler has had against the Kiwi captain – but it was a rare moment of joy for the Lancastrian as he equalled the record for most England caps.

Robinson was spirited after being preferred to Craig Overton but there was no room for a specialist spinner in England’s XI on a day where the hosts played in front of a home crowd for the first time since the summer of 2019.

They worked themselves into a position of promise after New Zealand slipped to 114-3 in mid-afternoon but Conway and Henry Nicholls (46no) put on an unbroken 132-run stand to subdue Joe Root’s side.

Unlike New Zealand’s last visit to St John’s Wood - when they were beaten by England on boundary countback alone in a dramatic 2019 World Cup final - there were few fireworks at the start of this two-match series.

Robinson was able to exploit a fraction of movement to bowl Tom Latham via the inside edge then trap Ross Taylor lbw, but there seemed to be no demons in the track.

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