ENG vs IND | Ollie Robinson could prove to be the X-factor versus India, opines Monty Panesar

Former England spinner Monty Panesar has urged England to bring back Ollie Robinson in the XI against India, and believes that the Sussex man’s height could make the difference in the five-Test series. Panesar also reckons that the conditions won’t be extreme, and believes the pitches will be flat.

Ollie Robinson’s historic tweets made him the talk of the town last month, but in the solitary Test he played, the Sussex man made a hell of an impression. On a flat Lord’s wicket, Robinson finished with figures of 7/101 and tormented the Kiwis, and in all likelihood would have played the second Test had it not been for the social media exposé. Now having served his ban, Robinson is free to play for England again, and has been named in the 17-man squad to face India.

One person who had advocated for the immediate return of Robinson to the XI is former England spinner Monty Panesar, who reckoned that the Sussex man could bring some much-needed x-factor. The visiting Indian side, last month, were troubled by the height of Kyle Jamieson, and Panesar believes that Robinson, through his height, could replicate Jamieson’s heroics and torment the Virat Kohli-led side.

“They should play Robinson because he is a high arm bowler and his release is the second-highest in world cricket after [New Zealand’s] Kyle Jamieson,” Panesar told Sportsmail.

“The Indian batsmen will struggle with really tall bowlers and, if he plays, that could provide an X-factor that will make the Indian batsmen feel uncomfortable.

“I was at the World Test Championship final and they couldn’t get Jamieson away. The Indian batsmen average between 30 and 35 but when the bowlers have such a high release point – and Jamieson is about 2.03 metres, with Robinson similar to that – then they’re going to struggle.”

Robinson was initially indefinitely suspended, but an independent committee fined him £3,200 and gave him a suspended sentence which made him eligible to represent the Three Lions with immediate effect. Panesar said that Robinson had served his punishment, and hoped for England to include the 27-year-old in the starting XI against India.

“I think they should bring him back into the team and that will make the series competitive.

“He has served his punishment, it was 10 years ago, when he was a teenager. As a teenager, nobody knows what is right and wrong.”

On the back of India dishing out rank turners in the four-Test series earlier this year, it remains to be seen if England will reply by providing green tops for the five-Test series, something that they have done in the past. Panesar, though, believes that due to financial reasons, the ECB will dish out flat wickets in the hope of stretching the Tests to the fifth day. The former England spinner, however, believes that the hosts will have an edge if the conditions are tilted in favour of the bowlers.

“I think there will be flat wickets. There is huge talk about green pitches versus the spinning decks in India and home advantage but I predict the ECB would want the Test matches to go to a fourth and fifth day for the revenue.

“If we have a proper heatwave in August with more sunny days than overcast conditions, India have a much better chance. India are a stronger team with no cloud cover, with cloud cover England are the stronger side.”

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