Robinson keen to do well for Kent
Robinson keen to do well for Kent

Even at the tender age of 20, Kent’s Ollie Robinson looks set to become the latest name to join the county’s illustrious dynasty of wicketkeeper-batsmen.

Though he has less than a dozen first-class appearances to his name, Robinson’s name is already being mentioned alongside those of Kent’s greatest glovemen, like Alan Knott, Steve Marsh, Godfrey Evans, Les Ames, Paul Downton, Sam Billings and ‘Hopper’ Levett.

Robinson is the county’s preferred first-team gloveman ahead of the ever-popular Adam Rouse, while his consistency with bat and gloves could even make it difficult for Billings, the skipper, to reclaim his spot behind the timbers once the England and IPL star returns from recent shoulder surgery.

Only last month Robinson agreed terms to stay at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence until the end of the 2021 season, a move that pleased him and delighted Kent supporters.

“There’s always a little uncertainty when your contract starts to come to an end,” said Robinson. “So it feels really nice to have that extra bit of security. And, now that it’s done, I can simply focus on my cricket.

“I did speak to Sussex after they made an official approach, just to see what they had to say. I know Jason Gillespie from his time at Kent and we get on really well.

“They have a lot going for them down at Sussex right now, but it felt right to commit to Kent. Deep down, I felt my best chances for first-team opportunities would be here. I took a lot of time over the decision, but it all boiled down to playing first-team cricket.

“I know I have to compete with ‘Rousey’ and Sam Billings, once he’s fully fit, but who knows what will happen in the future. I’m sure Sam will want to keep wicket, as do I. I have the opportunity right now and all I can do is to continue keeping well and see where that takes me.

“I have played solely as a batsman before and feel my out-fielding is good enough, so have no concerns about that, but yes, my preference would be to bat and keep. That way you’re always involved, you can’t switch off and, in my eyes, it’s the best position in the team.”

Indeed, Robinson’s impressive form for the first half of the 2019 campaign has fully merited both his inclusion and his contract extension. With two championship centuries to his name, he has scored almost 500 runs at an average of 35 and, with 34 catches, he leads the wicketkeeper ranks.

“I feel I’ve done well with the gloves this year and to be top of the keeping charts feels pretty good,” said the Sidcup-born cricketer. “I feel my keeping is improving game on game.

“It’s down to the bowlers to find the edges in the first place of course, but I’m happy that they’ve not all been regulation nick-offs. I enjoyed a catch at Chelmsford off Darren Stevens, one-handed in my left glove, then another down the leg-side against Surrey off Wiaan Mulder.

“My best work to the spinners was a catch off Ollie Rayner at Tunbridge Wells to bet rid of Ben Slater. That started our drive for victory that day because they were five down and Slater was their last recognised batter, so it was a big wicket.

“It turned and bounced out the rough, so I was delighted to take that one.”

As for his batting performances thus far, Robinson said: “I’ve enjoyed the responsibility a lot and seem to have taken the batting part of the job in my stride. Some things have just clicked into place for me and its all gone pretty well.

“My main concern now is to continue playing well for Kent, if an opportunity for England Lions comes along, then fine, but I’ve still got a long way to go in my career.

“I have to do it for Kent first before any honours come along, so I’ll just focus on my day job and let the rest take care of itself.”