England Proteas Ollie Robinson

Ollie Robinson has been recalled for the second Test against the Proteas as the hosts bid to level the three match series. Photo: PA

England make bowling change for 2nd Proteas Test at Old Trafford

Ollie Robinson has been recalled to the England team for the second Test against the Proteas as the hosts bid to level the 3-match series.

England Proteas Ollie Robinson

Ollie Robinson has been recalled for the second Test against the Proteas as the hosts bid to level the three match series. Photo: PA

Ollie Robinson, who last played for England in the final Ashes Test in January, has been recalled for the second Test with South Africa as the hosts bid to level the three match series.

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Sussex paceman Robinson replaces Matthew Potts for the match at Old Trafford which starts on Thursday.

“Everything that we’ve seen in training and how he’s (Robinson) been around the group is exactly what we want,” said England captain Ben Stokes.

“We all know the quality of bowler he is, because when he’s played for England his skill set is incredible.”

Stokes added that Potts had taken the news remarkably well after playing in the previous five Tests.

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“For a 23-year-old to understand the bigger picture and not be throwing his toys out the pram was something that I think shouldn’t be overlooked,” said Stokes.

England will need a considerably improved performance following the innings and 12 runs thrashing inside three days at Lord’s in the first Test.

Robinson has 39 wickets in nine Tests at an average of  21.28.

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Following a poor Ashes series, where his approach to fitness were questioned in public by the England coaching staff, Robinson missed the subsequent tour of the West Indies with back spasms.

He was due to play for a County Select XI against New Zealand in May, only to miss out with a stiff back, before a bout of Covid-19 caused him to spend more time on the sidelines.

Stokes said he had spoken frankly to Robinson about his attitude to fitness.

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“I feel that’s something people deserve,” said Stokes.

“Rather than just have a conversation to get through it easy, I’d rather let him know exactly where I stand.

“It enables him to go away and work on what has been asked of him. All I can say is he’s done that to the absolute extreme.

“All the feedback Robbo has got from myself, the coach, the people who have helped him get where he is now, has been nothing but positive.”

Stokes revealed earlier this week he is taking anxiety medication to help his battle with mental health issues.

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The 31-year-old’s father, Ged, died of brain cancer two years ago and Stokes opted out of his sport for six months as he struggled to come to terms with the loss.

The Durham all-rounder said on Wednesday that people who like him suffer from mental health problems could take heart from how he had enjoyed such a successful career.

“To be here today as England Test captain is something hopefully a lot of people can take a lot of promise from and realise that even when you do feel like you are down and dark you can bounce back and achieve things you want to,” he said.

Stokes has retained faith with opener Zak Crawley despite another poor outing at Lord’s – scoring nine and 13.

In 35 innings as a Test opener, Crawley averages 22.25, a figure boosted by a double century against Pakistan in 2020.

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Only two openers in Test history have a lower average from at least as many innings. Australia’s Alick Bannerman, who played in the 19th century, averaged 21.44, and Bangladesh’s Javed Omar 22.07.

England’s defeat last weekend against the top-ranked Test side ended a run of four successive victories under red ball head coach Brendon McCullum and Stokes.

South Africa’s bowlers were right on the money at Lord’s and their skipper Dean Elgar said he hoped for more of the same.

“Our bowlers are leading our pack at the moment and are extremely hungry for success,” said Elgar at his press conference on Wednesday.

“They have to bring the intensity and heat again, and we have to adapt to the conditions.

“I reckon they can get much better. They are still pretty fresh.”

England team:

Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse