England to field weakened attack against Ireland at Lord's

England to field weakened attack against Ireland with pacemen Ollie Robinson and Jimmy Anderson set to sit out Lord’s clash ahead of the first Ashes Test against Australia

  • Ollie Robinson limped out of Sussex’s match against Glamorgan with an injury
  • However, a scan showed that there was no significant damage to his left ankle 
  • England will take no risks when they face Ireland in a Test at Lord’s next week 

England will field a weakened attack in their first Test of this Ashes summer even though a scan on Ollie Robinson’s left ankle revealed no damage.

Robinson was declared fully fit by England after hobbling out of Sussex’s game against Glamorgan but England will take no risks when they face Ireland at Lord’s next week.

That means Robinson and Jimmy Anderson, also included in a 15-man squad to take on the Irish in a four-day Test, will almost certainly be rested with an eye on the first Ashes Test which follows two weeks later at Edgbaston.

Ben Stokes’ stated hope of having an eight-man squad of fast bowlers to choose from when he takes on Australia has already taken a hit, with Jofra Archer ruled out of the whole summer and Olly Stone missing for at least the first two Tests.

Further fears were raised when Anderson suffered a groin injury and Robinson was spotted at Hove on crutches and wearing a protective boot after also having a painkilling injection in his back ahead of the county season.

England received an Ashes boost when Ollie Robinson was declared fit after an ankle scare

It is a boost for England after he was seen on crutches and with a protective boot on his ankle

Robinson’s fitness is a big relief for England after Jofra Archer (left) was ruled out of the whole summer with an elbow injury, while Jimmy Anderson (right) is nursing a minor groin strain

But both are expected to be fine for the first Ashes Test on June 16 when they will be joined by Mark Wood, another bowler almost certain to be left out of the one-off game against Ireland, and the last man standing among England’s bowlers with extra pace.

That leaves Stuart Broad as the only ‘first-choice’ England seamer likely to play at Lord’s, alongside Chris Woakes, Matthew Potts and Jack Leach in a four-man attack, with captain Stokes unlikely to risk aggravating his chronic knee injury by bowling.

Potts has earned his chance after an impressive start to the season with Durham and Woakes will be playing in his first home Test in three years, having forgone the IPL this year in order to put himself back in the Ashes frame.

At least the news on Robinson, now arguably England’s most important bowler, was positive. The soreness in his ankle was found to be caused by tendon irritation rather than anything more serious, but necessitating caution over the timing of his return.

Robinson has made an outstanding start to the season, taking 14 wickets for Sussex in their match against Worcestershire and then dismissing key Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne with the first ball he bowled at him in the game against Glamorgan.

His rise to the top of the game has come despite a difficult start to his Test career, firstly over the revelation of historic offensive tweets and then when bowling coach Jon Lewis publicly shamed him over his fitness during the last Ashes.

Robinson is much fitter now and approaches his first home Ashes having taken his 66 Test wickets at just 21.27, with accurate and penetrative seam bowling that is far from express in pace but is increasingly comparable to that of his hero Glenn McGrath.

Meanwhile, The ECB’s troubled Hundred competition suffered another setback on Tuesday when it was announced that Sanjay Patel, one of its architects and leading supporters within the governing body, will leave at the end of this year’s event. The third edition of the Hundred starts on August 1.

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