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Fit-again Ollie Robinson targeting Lions stint to prove readiness for England Test return against South Africa

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llie Robinson is eyeing an appearance for England Lions next month to force his way into the reckoning for the Test series against South Africa that follows.

Robinson made a strong return to action for Sussex at Trent Bridge yesterday, picking up Nottinghamshire’s top four in figures of four for 40.

That followed two months out for the England seamer, who has had a peculiar and frustrating year. He was publicly criticised by the team management for his conditioning on the tour of Australia, then was not fit enough to take the field on the tour of West Indies. This summer, he has suffered back spasms, Covid-19 and dental issues, limiting his availability.

“I had an injection and it took about 10 days to feel fully settled,” Robinson told the ECB Reporters Network. “I started my rehab slowly with a bit of gym work but two-and-a-half weeks in I started bowling and could tell straight away it felt better.

“I would have liked to have bowled in a Second XI game but the fixtures just didn’t allow that. But last week I bowled 30 overs, the week before 24 and the week before that 18. So I was able to come into this match feeling I could give 100 per cent.

“I felt a bit rusty as I suppose after a few months it is going to be, but the ball came out OK.

“I’ve had a few conversations with the England coaches and said that I wanted to bowl as many overs as were needed by the team, with no restrictions, and they have allowed me to play this game to 100 per cent.”

The Lions take on South Africa in a four-day match from August 9 at Canterbury as preparation for the three-Test series that begins at Lord’s on August 17.

“I’m hoping to play in a Lions game early next month after which the South Africa series comes up pretty quickly, so I’m hoping that with a couple of good games I can be back in the mix,” Robinson said.

In Robinson’s absence, Matt Potts has emerged as a Test-class seamer, while Jamie Overton impressed on debut, too. Sam Curran and possibly even Chris Woakes may also come back into the conversation for the series against South Africa.

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