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Eng vs NZ 2021 – ‘Forensic’ Ollie Robinson already planning for New Zealand ahead of expected Test debut

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Sussex coach James Kirtley praises seamer’s “ability to dissect batsmen”

Sussex had tried just about everything to get Kiran Carlson out in their County Championship fixture away at Glamorgan earlier this season: he had made 127 not out in the first innings, and was 129 not out overnight heading into the final day, holding up their push for victory. As usual, Ollie Robinson arrived at the ground on the final morning and immediately began scouring videos and discussing plans with James Kirtley, the club’s T20 head coach and assistant to Ian Salisbury in the Championship.

Robinson had noticed that Carlson had remodelled his technique over the winter, meaning that footage from previous years – “which was all about getting tight to the crease and trying to swing the ball away” – was rendered useless. “I spoke to James Kirtley about coming wider on the crease and trying to angle it into him, taking it outside his natural eyeline,” he recalled.

With the third ball he bowled to Carlson on the final day, he went wide, angled it in, and had him caught at second slip. “I pointed up to James on the balcony – it was one of those nice moments where the hard work you do watching the footage pays off,” he said. Robinson took the final four Glamorgan wickets for good measure to finish with career-best figures of 9 for 78, setting up an eight-wicket win.

It is that approach to video analysis and preparation for opposition batters which led Jason Gillespie, his former Sussex coach, to call Robinson “comfortably the most researched fast bowler I have come across”, and Kirtley shares a similar view. “He has a thirst for knowledge,” he told ESPNcricinfo at Hove this week. “The way he looks at opposition batters is forensic.

“He can come across as quite a laidback chap with a wicked sense of humour but when it comes to cricket, he knows his opposition inside out. We talk about certain deliveries or positions from the crease, or what we can do with the eyeline of a batter. When you have someone who has the skill to actually deliver and execute some of those plans, it’s so exciting when they come to fruition.

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