Mark Robinson has been appointed as head coach for the England lions’ tour to Sri Lanka from January 27 to March 2, but already has his sights set higher.
The current Sussex manager, despite his relatively short managerial career, has often been ear-marked for big things, so his recent selection as England coach won’t come as a shock to many.
Robinson expressed his delight at being appointed head coach by saying “It’s an honour to go on the tour and an exciting prospect.”
However the ambitious coach spoke of his desire to one day land the top job as England manager when he said, “it is good experience for everybody involved. That’s for the players who want to become England players and for myself who wants one day to be the full England coach.”
The appointment was greeted by ECB performance director David Parsons who said: “We are delighted to give Mark Robinson the opportunity to come into the England Lions set-up and take the role of head coach for this tour next year.
“This should not only provide him with an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand what the England Cricket programme is really about but also we will be able to benefit greatly from Mark’s experience as one of our leading coaches within the first-class game.”
It is obvious that Robinson is a man for which England have high hopes after he was previously given the responsibility to take the under 19 team to the cricket world cup in 2010, and his recent appointment seems to just be the next phase of his development.
If Robinson does ever land the top job he will hope it goes better for him than it did for his Sussex predecessor Peter Moores, who was appointed coach of the senior side, before being controversially sacked.
Moores learned very quickly how hard it can be at the top when he lost control of the dressing room, after a public fall out with then captain Kevin Pietersen.
The pair had a very uneasy relationship after Moores refused to include ex-Test skipper Michael Vaughan in a touring party to the Caribbean, which ultimately led to Pietersen criticising Moores’s training methods and his lack of experience at the highest level of the game
As a player Robinson enjoyed much success, even setting a then world record of 12 first-class noughts in a row (seven of them not out), so would instantly demand the respect of the players could he emulate Moores’ achievement of getting the top job.
However should that happen, he will have to deal with managerial issues in a much more high profile way then he has experienced before, with every decision scrutinised by both the fans and the media.
The tour of Sri Lanka includes three four-day Tests against Sri Lanka A, although the full schedule has yet to be confirmed, but regardless of the outcome, Mark Robinson is a man to watch out for.