England skipper Joe Root has admitted that he was shocked and didn’t know how to react to teammate Ollie Robinson’s 'unacceptable' controversial tweets. However, he said that the bowler expressed genuine remorse for his actions.
Robinson made an impressive Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s last week, bagging a match haul of seven wickets and scoring a vital first-innings knock of 42 runs. Robinson’s controversial tweets dating back to 2012 surfaced on the first day of the match and became the subject of criticism.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended Robinson, who tendered a public apology after the first day’s play.
Speaking after the first Test, Joe Root said:
“In regards to the stuff that’s happened off the field, it’s not acceptable within our game. We all know that. He addressed the dressing room straight away. He obviously spoke to you guys and other media outlets straight away and fronted up to it. He showed a lot of remorse from that point onwards."
"You can see it’s very genuine from how he’s been around the group and the team. I couldn’t believe them (the tweets), personally. I didn’t really know how to take it on the surface. I think the most important thing is Ollie is part of this dressing room, and we had to support him," added Joe Root.
It’s a great lesson for everyone: Joe Root
Joe Root called the incident a lesson for everyone in the game. He added that it was important to create an inclusive environment within the sport of cricket.
“I think it’s a great lesson for everyone within our game that we can all do more. We all have to keep looking to educate ourselves, trying to better the environment for everyone, trying to be as inclusive as we can," said Joe Root.
“It starts with us players at the top of the game. We set out the week with that moment of unity and we’re doing a lot of work behind the cricket. We want to make a big change in the game and we want to make it more inclusive, more diverse."
The issue even attracted attention from the British government, who feel the ECB have gone too far with this issue. There have also been raging debates within the cricket fraternity, with most believing that the punishment meted out to Robinson was too harsh.
Although Joe Root believes the issue could have been handled better, he remains clear that the incident should not have happened in the first place.
“We can look back about how this could have been handled better, but the fact is it shouldn’t have happened. And if we continue to keep trying to better the game right now, then in years to come, this shouldn’t be an issue," said Joe Root.
"This shouldn’t be something that happens within cricket. We’ve got to move forward from this, learn from this and do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
After drawing the first Test at Lord’s, England will face New Zealand in the second match of the series at Edgbaston on June 10.