Seamer Ollie Robinson says he feared for his England career after the Twitter storm which overshadowed his Test debut.
The 27-year-old claimed a maiden five-wicket haul on day three of the first LV= Insurance Test, which saw India claim a 95-run first-innings lead before the hosts reached 25-0 in their second innings.
Robinson earned his first international cap against New Zealand two months ago, when the emergence of racist, sexist and offensive tweets dating back almost a decade left him mired in controversy.
After apologising in public and private, the Sussex seamer left the squad as soon as the game was over to await the findings of a Cricket Discipline Commission investigation into the episode.
He was banned for eight games, three served retroactively with another five remaining suspended, and was also fined and instructed to undergo educational courses via the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
Robinson was back in the England side at the earliest possible opportunity at Trent Bridge this week and confessed he had feared a much longer exile.
“There was a time when I was speaking with my lawyers and we were looking at the fact I could be banned for a couple of years and never play for England again,” he said.
“In a couple of years, I would have been 30 and someone else could have come in and taken my spot. So there was definitely a time when I had doubts over my career – but luckily, it all came good today.
“It was tough. Probably the toughest few weeks I’ve had in cricket, to be honest, or in my life actually. It affected not only myself but my family too. I’ve learned a lot now and I’m looking to move forward.”
Robinson’s five-for means he now has 12 wickets at an average of 15.50 from his three innings as an international bowler.
But he knows he must also deliver on his promises that he is a different man from the teenager who once littered social media with offensive content.
“I was a young 18-year-old naive guy and I made a lot of mistakes, not just those tweets,” he said.
“I have grown as a person a lot in that time. I have learned a lot and tried to develop myself as a person in the last 10 years.
“I am a father now as well and I have just tried to make myself the best person I can be – and I hope people will be able to see that.
“Everyone with England was very good. They did put their arm around me and helped me through a tough situation.
“I also knew what I did on the field wouldn’t affect our relationships but it was important for me to show everyone that I am the real deal on the field and try to get the scrutiny off me.”
His England team-mates will certainly be thankful for the pressure and persistence of Robinson and Anderson, the latter taking 4-54.
Robinson enjoyed the battle, brushing shoulders with India’s top-scorer KL Rahul and later raising his finger to his lips in a pointed send-off after removing Ravindra Jadeja.
“It was all friendly banter, we were just trying to get them out of their bubble,” said Robinson.
“They were batting well, pretty defensive, so I was trying to get KL to play some shots against us. It was all good fun.”
Watch day four of the first Test between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Saturday.