Ollie Robinson will get another opportunity to prove his fitness for a Test recall this summer, after being named in a County Select XI to face the touring New Zealanders in a four-day warm-up at Chelmsford, starting on Thursday.
Dom Sibley is the other England Test-capped player in a 12-man squad that will be overseen by Richard Dawson, the ECB’s elite performance pathway coach. Kent’s Ben Compton is also rewarded with a call-up after becoming the leading run-scorer in Division One with 878 at 109.75 since making his debut for the county at Chelmsford in April.

Robinson, who burst onto the Test scene with 28 wickets at 19.60 in his maiden home season in 2021, has been plagued by injury and illness since struggling through the fifth Test against Australia at Hobart in January.

Despite travelling to the Caribbean as arguably England’s first-choice seamer, following the omissions of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Robinson missed all three Tests following a back spasm in the warm-up match in Antigua.

He then took five wickets against Middlesex in his first outing of the season, before struggling with food poisoning at Grace Road, in which he at one stage resorted to bowling offspin after being limited to a solitary over in the first innings.

However, he found a better rhythm in Sussex’s rain-affected four-day game against the New Zealanders at Hove this week, with 18 economical – albeit wicketless – overs in the tourists’ only innings. Tom Haines, who captained Sussex and made 61 runs for once out in the fixture, has also been included in the squad.

“We have selected a strong squad of players who are in form and who deserve the opportunity to test themselves against high-class international opposition,” Dawson said.

“Matches like this provide a valuable opportunity to see how the selected players handle a step up from county ranks and I am looking forward to working alongside them.

The squad was selected from the pool of available players following consultation with the first-class counties, with the vast majority of players not part of their respective counties’ T20 Blast plans. “I would also like to thank the first-class counties for their collaborative approach during a busy period,” Dawson added.

New Zealand’s contingent of IPL players are beginning to link up with the squad, with Devon Conway and Tim Southee having now arrived in the country following their respective teams’ failure to reach the last four, and Kane Williamson due in the coming days after a spell of paternity leave. The new arrivals are expected to play bit-part roles over the coming four days, meaning that the fixture is likely to be downgraded from first-class status.

This would be bad news for Compton, who might otherwise have had two last innings to secure the elusive landmark of 1000 runs before the end of May. The last man to achieve the feat was Graeme Hick in 1988, although in 2012, Compton’s cousin Nick reached 1000 runs on June 1, after a rain delay at Worcester had kept him off the field on May 31.

County Select XI squad: Jack Blatherwick (Lancashire), Michael Burgess (Warwickshire), Ben Compton (Kent), Ben Gibbon (Worcestershire), Nick Gubbins (Hampshire), Tom Haines (Sussex), Lyndon James (Nottinghamshire), Ryan Patel (Surrey), Liam Patterson-White (Nottinghamshire), Jamie Porter (Essex), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire).