MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 27: Ben Stokes (C) of England celebrates with teammates Jack Leach (R) and Ollie Robinson after dismissing Alex Carey of Australia during day two of the Third Test match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Recent form would suggest that Ollie Robinson is in a very good place. The English paceman has quietly put together an impressive body of work over the last 12-18 months, cementing himself as a future Test mainstay.

It wasn't always this way however, the spearhead has had to weather both form, criticism and injury to get to where he is now. Following a disastrous summer in Australia where his fitness was questioned, Robinson then suffered back injuries which ruled him out of a Test tour of the Caribbean.

As if things weren't bad enough, he suffered more setbacks with injury that cost him a sizeable chunk of the county season in England, meaning he wasn't selected for the first four Tests under the direction of new coach Brendon McCullum.

It was during this time, as plenty questioned his work ethic and commitment, that Robinson half-heartedly considered leaving the game altogether. The tyro, at 29 years of age, believes it to be more a matter of bad luck than anything else.

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Speaking to the BBC while helping England to a 2-0 series lead against Pakistan in Pakistan, Robinson opened up on the tough times that have helped shape him.

"There were points when I didn't think I was going to play for England again, or play cricket again," Robinson said. "I kept coming back to full fitness, then getting an injury or illness, then another injury."
"There was a point in June time when I thought 'I might have to look at what else I can do here, I don't think I'm going to be able to carry on playing cricket'. It's been tough and there has been some dark days, but tours and series wins like this make it all worthwhile."
It has been this tour of Pakistan that has seen Robinson really establish himself in the England lineup, finding form and consistency in tricky conditions. While he has 'only' taken eight wickets in the series, the economy is what is most impressive.
They have come at an average of 18.37, which has helped reduce his overall test average to 19.61 after 13 caps for England. Besides his accuracy and guile, he has also become the first man to bowl Pakistan's superstar captain Babar Azam twice in a match.
"It's a massive confidence-booster for myself," he said in relation to the series in Pakistan, where pitches can be tricky and wickets notoriously difficult to come by," he added.
"Twelve months ago I was struggling to even get on the park. It's a really proud tour for me, in the fact my body has got through it, I've bowled well and I've proved to the world, almost, I can do it in any conditions. Not just for the team, but for myself. It's been a really good tour so far and hopefully we can win 3-0 this week."

Since returning to the test side, England have won all four matches, with Robinson contributing 20 wickets at 16.35 during that time. More impressively, he passed his 50th Test wicket in his 11th appearance, equaling legend Ian Botham.

In Stuart Broad's absence, Robinson has thrived and as he gains confidence and form, he will no doubt begin to eye retribution in next year's Ashes. Australia would do well to monitor him closely.