Cricket-ECB must not punish Robinson too severely if he has changed: Holding

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(Reuters) - The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should not "come down too hard" on Ollie Robinson for old racist and sexist comments he made on Twitter if the fast bowler has since changed his behaviour, former West Indies bowler Michael Holding said.

The ECB suspended Robinson from all international cricket last weekend pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation into his Twitter posts, which were made in 2012-2013.

Robinson apologised "unreservedly" for those tweets, which went viral on social media last week when he made his test debut against New Zealand at Lord's.

"(It was) eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB find out please, if beyond that time, Robinson has kept on behaving like that, saying things like that, tweeting things like that?" Holding told Sky Sports on Tuesday.

"If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don't think you should come down too hard on him."

Holding said the ECB had taken the right course of action by suspending the 27-year-old to investigate the matter.

"You don't allow him to continue playing while an investigation is going on at the same time, because if you find out things that are horrible coming out in that investigation," he said. "But do it quickly, let's get it over with quickly."

The ECB has said it would take "relevant and appropriate action" after questions were raised publicly about historical tweets from several other players.

The board is also investigating a second England player for historical "offensive" social media posts, cricket website Wisden has reported.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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