Sam Robson made an impressive start to his Test career, but he is now under pressure to score runs against India at The Oval if he is to ensure that his first summer of international cricket isn’t his last.
The Middlesex opener scored a century in just his second Test match, but has failed to surpass 60 since posting 127 at Headingley against the Sri Lankans.
If the right-hander is to extend his stay as Alastair Cook’s batting partner at the top of the order, then he could do with an impressive score in the final match of the India series, which begins this Friday.
Robson only made his debut in June, but in this day and age, competition for places in the England team is fiercer than ever. The recent curtailing of an unwanted winless run could buy him more time however.
The 25-year-old’s knock of 127 at the top of the order in the Second Test against Sri Lanka put the hosts in a commanding position. Robson top-scored as England posted 365, and held a lead of 108 at the halfway stage of the match.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t to provide an elusive victory, as the tourists – led by captain Angelo Mathews’ 160 – turned the game around to win the match by 100 runs in the final over, and subsequently clinch the series.
Poor against India
Robson’s total of 59 in the First Test against India is perhaps misleading as it came on a batsman’s haven at Trent Bridge. It has been downhill since departing Nottingham, with the opener averaging just over 21 in the ongoing series.
An inability to get himself in and get his side off to a solid start won’t leave him in the highest regards of the selectors.
Runs are what will win his case over. A century would be nice, but it isn’t essential – a solid 50, even if he scrambles to that milestone would prove his pedigree at the highest level.
Long wait till next Test
With an eight-month wait until England’s next Test match – against the West Indies in Antigua in April – Robson needs to end this summer on a high. A memorable performance will live even longer in the mind if he can do the business at The Oval.
For someone who rarely plays limited-overs cricket, it is unlikely that he will be considered for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, therefore it is even more vital that he can continue to keep his place in the Test side.
The likes of James Vince, Michael Carberry and Alex Hales all potential suitors for a spot at the top of the order, Robson is by no means guaranteed his place in the side, and he needs to start producing more regular performances that will resoundingly prove his worth to Alastair Cook’s side.