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Ashes: England bowler Ollie Robinson ‘must learn to look after himself better’

England bowling coach Jon Lewis says Ollie Robinson must improve his fitness after suffering a back injury on the opening day at Hobart.

Robinson picked up two vital early wickets – David Warner and Steve Smith for ducks – but pulled up injured in his only over after the lunch break. He returned to field on a rain-affected day, but did not bowl.

Robinson missed the Fourth Test draw in Sydney with a shoulder injury, but there is some dissatisfaction about his general conditioning from England’s management.

Lewis gave a glimpse of that when speaking after play, but said there was some hope that Robinson would be able to bowl again in the game. Lewis described the injury as a “back spasm”.

“It’s definitely something to work on,” said Lewis. “It’s something he needs to improve. He’s got a record of playing a lot of games in county cricket. But international cricket is a higher intensity and you play all year round. So he’s got to get used to understanding what it takes to be a full-time year-round international cricketer.

“Also in these series we play now with the times we’re in everything is really squashed together. So there’s not a great deal of rest and recuperation between games so that’s something that he’s going to have to deal with.

“Is it a concern? It’s one of the things he really needs to work on. He’s shown over the course of the English summer and this series so far that he can put back-to-back games together. But there’s definitely areas he needs to work on for sure.

“Obviously it [losing Robinson] has a big impact. You lose one of the seamers after he bowls seven overs and it has a big impact on the rest of the day. He was bowling fantastically well. He gets a lot of bounce. That has caused Australia trouble.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Robinson had an excellent first year in Test cricket, and averages 20.7. He played five of the six Tests in the English summer and four here, as many as any England quick.

“So far he’s been OK but we play a lot of cricket and training and playing at the same time isn’t always straightforward even though we can do it,” Lewis added.

“That’s something he’s learning. In county cricket it doesn’t often happen, the guys don’t train and play together at the same time because they play game after game after game, but international cricket he’s on the road a lot, he’s going to have to learn to look after himself probably better than he does at the moment.

“It’s something he will need if he’s going to perform consistently over a long period of time at this level, he’ll need to be a fitter bowler. That’s 100 per cent. We’ve had those conversations with him and been pretty frank with him and now it’s up to him to go and do the work.”

Lewis said England were disappointed with how they allowed Travis Head and Australia’s middle order to pull away from them after an excellent start in which the hosts were 12 for three.

“They counter punched fantastically well,” he said. “They played a couple of very smart innings. But in the middle session, in particular, we were a bit slow to adapt to what was happening. We could have bowled better. For long periods in this series, we’ve controlled the rate. For the first time they got away with us today.”