Ollie Robinson in firing line as Australia greats hit out over Edgbaston actions

Ollie Robinson in firing line as Australia greats hit out over Edgbaston actions

Australian greats Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting have rounded on England’s Ollie Robinson after the seamer’s provocative display in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.

Robinson was happy to offer Australia some verbals on and off the pitch during England’s tense two-wicket defeat, offering an expletive-laden send off to centurion Usman Khawaja and then defending his behaviour in a press conference where he asked: “If you can’t handle that, what can you handle?”.

The combative seamer took match figures of five for 98 in the first Test and was not sanctioned by the match referee, but his conduct appeared to rile two men who were far from shrinking violets in their own playing days.

Cricket – Ashes Tour – Second 3-mobile Test – Day 5 – Australia v England – Adelaide Oval
Australia’s Matthew Hayden (left) and Ricky Ponting (right) have made their views on Ollie Robinson clear (Gareth Copley/PA)

Hayden took aim at Robinson’s lack of express pace and suggested Australia should be looking to hammer him out of the attack.

Declining to use Robinson’s name in an appearance on SEN Radio, he said: “The other bloke, he’s a forgettable cricketer.

“(He’s) a fast bowler that is bowling 124kmph nude nuts and he’s got a mouth from the south. Someone like him, you can just go, ‘Brother, I’m coming at ya’. Davey Warner can do that, right. He can just say, ‘You’re bowling 120′.”

Ponting, who was namechecked by Robinson as someone who had sledged England in the past, also rose to the bait.

“If he is sitting back thinking about me, then no wonder he bowled like the way that he did in that game, if he’s worried about what I did 15 years ago,” he told the ICC Review Podcast.

“This England cricket team hasn’t played against Australia and they’ll find out pretty quickly what playing Ashes cricket and playing against a good Australian cricket team is all about. If Ollie Robinson hasn’t learned that already after last week, then he’s a slow learner.

“He’ll learn pretty quickly that if you’re going to talk to Australian cricketers in an Ashes series, then you want to be able to back it up with your skills.”

Robinson is sure to have a target on his back when the series resumes at Lord’s next week, but fellow seamer Stuart Broad is reluctant to pass on the baton.

England pace attack
Stuart Broad (centre) has long been a target of Australian ire (John Walton/PA)

Broad has long been the preferred target for Australian fans, dating back to a curious incident in 2013 when he declined to walk after his outside edge was parried to slip.

Replying to a Twitter post from Australian broadcaster Fox Sports, which referred to Robinson as ‘No.1 Villain’, Broad wrote: “I can’t have lost that tag already can I?! Disappointing.”

Robinson confronted his new status in a column for Wisden.com, saying on the one hand that he had “learned his lesson” and made peace with Khawaja.

On the other hand, he needled Australia for their safety-first approach in a way that will surely cause further annoyance.

“We were surprised by how defensive Australia were and how unwilling they were to go toe-to-toe with us,” he wrote.

“You just don’t see the Australians cautious and on the back foot like that. Of course it sounds weird because they won it, but I think if they’re honest, Australia will look at themselves and realise they need to change their approach to keep up with how we’re going to play. If there’s any movement in the pitch at Lord’s, the way we’re playing compared to them is going to benefit us hugely.

“Baz (head coach Brendon McCullum) said it after the game: ‘It feels like we’ve won, lads’. We’ve entertained the world, and we’ve put the Aussies on the back foot. For him to say that after a loss is quite significant for us.”