Former England bowler Steve Harmison believes Ollie Robinson’s Ashes series could be over, suggesting the hosts “can’t afford to take the risk” over his fitness.
Robinson has played all three games so far, taking 10 wickets at 28.40, but was sidelined for the majority of the three-wicket victory at Headingley with back spasms.
The 29-year-old, who was restricted to just 11.2 overs, suffered similar issues during the last Ashes series Down Under in 2021-22 and in the subsequent tour of the West Indies.
With record wicket-taker James Anderson raring to return at his home ground of Emirates Old Trafford in the fourth Test, Robinson looks set to step down, but Harmison believes he may also be out of contention for the series finale at the Kia Oval too.
“He’s done for me; I think he’s done in the Ashes,” Harmison told talkSPORT.
“I think history has repeated itself. He came into the last Ashes and wasn’t able to bowl the overs he could do because of his body. I’m not going to speculate on where he is from a fitness point of view or whether it’s just unfortunate that these injuries have come.
“But England can’t afford to take the risk. With two games left in the series that we have to win, we have to pick the best bowlers. Ollie is one of them but he’s got to be fit to be one of them.
“He started the last couple of Tests at 78mph…and you’re starting to drop to 76, 75mph. As great a record as he’s got in Test cricket, unfortunately he needs to get his fitness and his body up before he starts playing Test cricket again.”
Robinson riled Australia with his fiery send-off of Usman Khawaja in the first Test, with the likes of Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden queuing up to criticise the seamer.
Hayden did so in particularly colourful fashion, taking aim at his pace by accusing him of bowling “124kph nude nuts”.