When Tim Robinson retired he had scored more runs for Nottinghamshire than any other cricketer save George Gunn, and hit more centuries than anyone except Joe Hardstaff junior. In the course of his career he had topped the County’s batting averages on six occasions: 1983, 1985, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 1996. In two other seasons he had been the County’s leading run scorer.
He was chosen as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year in 1986. After his first 11 Test Matches – the opponents being Australia and India –Robinson had scored 934 runs at the incredible average of 62.26. Among his innings during that spell was 175 on his debut in a home Test – at Headingley versus Australia. The next best individual English innings was 60.
Directly following this series came the disastrous England trip to West Indies, where the visitors were faced with Garner, Marshall, Patterson and Holding. Only Gower had any answer to this frightening battery. The selectors went into panic mode. For the home 1986 series they tried Slack, Benson, Moxon and Athey as England openers, but forgot Robinson. He returned for the 1987 series and appeared in all five Tests; Robinson finished second to Gatting in the averages. Robinson’s last Test appearance came against Australia in 1989.
Robinson had made his first-class debut for Notts in 1978, but waited until he had completed his accountancy exams before representing Notts on a full-time basis. It wasn’t in fact until 1983 that he broke the 1,000 barrier, but then he did it in style with 1,545 at 40.67. Then came Broad, a total contrast to Robinson, but the pair made an astonishingly successful opening partnership. In the course of six seasons, their partnership average was 52, which put in the shade such predecessors as Keeton-Harris, Gunn-Whysall, Jones-Iremonger.
After the retirement of Rice, Robinson assumed the leadership mantle, retiring from that post in 1995, but continuing as a foot soldier until 1999. It should be added that Robinson batted as successfully in one-day cricket as he did in the Championship. Under his captaincy Notts won the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1989 and the Sunday League in 1991.
Robert Timothy Robinson was born in Skegby on 21 November 1958. Due to his father’s occupation, the family moved to Bedfordshire; Robinson was educated at Dunstable Grammar School. He was approached to play for Northants, but preferred to favour the County of his birth. He is currently serving on the first-class umpires’ list.
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