England cricketer Ollie Robinson free to play despite ban for historical tweets

Credit: PA

England cricketer Ollie Robinson is free to resume playing after he was deemed to have served his suspension following an investigation into historical racist and sexist tweets.

The Cricket Discipline Commission announced he has been handed an eight-match ban, five of which are suspended for two years, for “a number of offensive tweets” between 2012 and 2014.

However, the panel has taken into account Robinson’s suspension from the England team and two Vitality Blast matches, leaving him free to play immediately. He was also fined £3,200.

The 27-year-old had admitted breaching two England Cricket Board (ECB) directives in relation to a number of offensive tweets posted when he was aged between 18 and 20.

Last month, former England cricketer Monty Panesar told ITV News the ECB 'took the right decision' in suspending Robinson

The tweets came to light on June 2, the opening day of Robinson’s first Test match for England.

Robinson had withdrawn himself from selection for Sussex following the suspension imposed by the England team for the second Test against New Zealand.

According to a statement, the panel considered significant mitigation, including the time that had elapsed since the tweets were posted, and a number of personal references to show how Robinson is a different person now than when the tweets were sent.

It was also recommended that Robinson should take part in “all training programmes in both the use of social media and in respect of anti-discrimination as directed by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) over the next two years”.

In a joint statement issued alongside the sanctions, Robinson said: “I fully accept the CDC’s decision. As I have said previously, I am incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about the tweets I posted many years ago and apologise unreservedly for their contents,” said Robinson. “I am deeply sorry for the hurt I caused to anyone who read those tweets and in particular to those people to whom the messages caused offence. This has been the most difficult time in my professional career for both my family and myself. “Whilst I want to move on, I do want to use my experience to help others in the future through working with the PCA.” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, who issued an angry response when the story first broke, added: “Ollie has acknowledged that, whilst published a long time ago when he was a young man, these historic tweets were unacceptable.

England's Ollie Robinson Credit: PA Images

“He has engaged fully in the disciplinary process, admitted the charges, has received his sanction from the CDC and will participate in training and use his experiences to help others. “Given he has served the suspension handed down by the CDC, he will now be available for selection for England again. We stand against discrimination of all forms, and will continue working to ensure cricket is a welcoming and inclusive sport for all.” Robinson has already made the first steps into his comeback, returning to the Sussex Second XI on June 15 and subsequently appearing against Gloucestershire and Surrey in the Vitality Blast. England head coach Chris Silverwood, who also has responsibility for selection matters, will now have a decision to make about when or if to restore Robinson in the Test arena. While his debut will always be remembered for the off-field revelations, he also took seven wickets against a strong New Zealand side and proved himself more than ready for the highest level. With a five-match series against India starting in August and some rotation expected among the bowling attack, he is likely to be back in Joe Root’s side before the end of the summer. In the more immediate term, he will take part in the launch of The Hundred having been signed up as a replacement player by Manchester Originals.