Ollie Robinson has slotted seamlessly into life at Sussex and former England international Mark Butcher believes the motivating factor of being sacked by Yorkshire can push him on to even greater heights.
Robinson’s strong season, in which he has taken 46 first-class wickets at an impressive 24.71 before this week’s clash with his old county Yorkshire, saw him nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award – although he narrowly lost out to Somerset batsman Tom Abell.
There are signs that Ollie Robinson has maturedMark Butcher
Yet in July 2014, the then 20-year-old’s cricketing career looked to be heading off track when he was sacked by the White Rose county for “a number of unprofessional actions” involving poor timekeeping and less than perfect attendance at training sessions.
However, Yorkshire’s loss has proved to be Sussex’s gain and Butcher admits Robinson has thrived as a key part of proceedings at Hove.
“There are signs that Ollie Robinson has matured,” said Butcher, who scored eight centuries in 71 Test appearances for England.
“As youngsters on the county circuit there can be temptations to go off the rails a little bit
“I think the fact that he wasn’t able to forge a career for himself at Yorkshire is a significant factor, and perhaps he’ll use that to drive himself on.
“If that’s his motivating factor then that’s fantastic because there’s nothing like showing people that they’re wrong to drive you forward.
“He’s at a great club – Sussex tend to be excellent at recycling players that have found it difficult elsewhere, and pushing them to greater things than perhaps other people expected of them.
“Wickets at Hove are not particularly easy to come by. It’s been a commendable season for him and we’ll see how he gets on next year.”
It’s not just in the bowling department that Robinson has made an impression as he plundered an impressive 115 to become the first Sussex debutant to hit an LV= County Championship century in 95 years.
The 21-year-old shared a county-record last-wicket stand of 164 with Matt Hobden in that game and with the ball he has helped minimise the loss of fellow seamers Tymal Mills, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Jordan to injury.
And Butcher concedes he has been impressed with the way the youngster has stepped up to the plate.
“For the club as a whole, it’s very difficult when you lose Chris Jordan and various other bowlers that Sussex have had to contend with,” added Butcher.
“But it’s incredibly important that when you get thrown in there like that, you don’t buckle under the pressure.
“It’s Division One cricket, there’s a lot of expectation and Sussex would have been one of the challengers to Yorkshire for the title this year if it hadn’t been for injuries.
“But then there’s this one guy who stands out as being somebody that you might not have looked upon as being a star of the show and he ends up being on the shortlist for the LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year award. He needs to build on it.”
For more reaction and a look back at this season’s LV= County Championship visit LV.com/cricket
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