Yorkshire Country Cricket Club: Gillespie’s tough call to axe Robinson

Yorkshire Country Cricket Club: Gillespie’s tough call to axe Robinson

Yorkshire Country Cricket Club: Gillespie’s tough call to axe Robinson

First published in Sport by

AS the saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in team. Ultimately, that is what did for Oliver Robinson and his future at Yorkshire.

The young all-rounder from Kent had his contract as a junior professional at Headingley terminated earlier this week after displaying “a number of unprofessional actions” according to a club statement.

Robinson, 20, had shown glimpses of his potential, especially with the ball at the end of an innings, in seven appearances in the NatWest T20 Blast this summer.

But, unfortunately, his behaviour off the field got to the stage where his expertise in bowling yorkers, or his fine fielding or improving batting were just not worth the hassle.

Robinson’s misdemeanours, understood to relate to things such as timekeeping, stretch back into the most recent winter, his first on the professional staff.

During the winter, Yorkshire’s chief executive Mark Arthur spoke about a “special dressing room” and said the camaraderie amongst the players “is the best I’ve seen in 23 years of professional sport”.

That is the kind of thing that must be kept intact at all costs if you are to be a successful team, one who goes on and wins the LV= County Championship title or even the Royal London one-day Cup.

“As a support staff, it was a massively difficult decision,” explained White Rose coach Jason Gillespie, who handed the player a first-team debut in 40-over cricket last summer after trialling in the second team.

“When you see a very skilful young cricketer like that continually display unprofessional behaviour, at what point do you continue to tolerate that when you have the whole squad being very professional? It’s not your right to play for Yorkshire, it’s a privilege.

“When a player consistently displays behaviour that isn’t professional, there has to be a point in time when you say ‘look, this isn’t really working, you’re obviously not that bothered about playing for the club’. That point came, and it was tough.”

Robinson took six wickets in his seven T20 Blast appearances this summer, including a couple in the memorable Roses win at Old Trafford in early June when Aaron Finch carried the Vikings home with a blistering 88 in a successful pursuit of 180.

He also has ability with the bat, too. In his last four appearances for Yorkshire seconds, in three-day and one-day cricket, he scored 62, 34 not out, 85 and 55.

He has also played second XI cricket for home county Kent, where he came through their Academy, and Leicestershire during his career, and he is expected to get another crack at county cricket in the near future.

A couple of other clubs are believed to have already shown an interest in giving him another chance to forge a career.

“Look, Oliver Robinson is a lovely lad and a good cricketer,” added Gillespie.

“He’s got to learn about his game and about being a professional sportsman. I think there will be a future for him in the professional game, but I think he needs to learn a lot, and I think he can do it.

“From our point of view, we wish him all the success in the world because he’s a nice lad. Sometimes, though, it’s best to part ways.”

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