Despite taking seven wickets on his Test debut at Lord’s, Graham Onions has found it difficult to hold down a regular spot in the England team, since that scintillating start against the West Indies in the summer of 2009.
But after prowling on the periphery of the international boundary rope for the last two years, is it now too late for the 31-year-old to resurrect his Test career?
The Durham seamer has seemingly been unaffected by his England exclusion when you look at his County record over the last few seasons. As he approaches 450 wickets in first-class cricket, his stock continues to rise in the sport – but evidently not amongst the England selectors.
Nevertheless, Onions did play for the Lions on their recent tour of Sri Lanka, playing several games for the side in February after being called up as a replacement for injured Durham contemporary, Mark Wood.
Being involved more heavily in the ECB set-up will hopefully give the right-arm bowler more of a shout when it comes to claiming a place in the Test sides for the upcoming summer.
After a dismal display in Australia, now would seemingly be a good time for England to experiment a little more with their squad selection. Graham Onions would be a valuable addition to the national side.
Regardless of the fact that he has only won seven Test caps, he is a very experienced bowler, and his five-day record speaks for itself. Onions has taken 32 wickets at an average just below 30.
Fresh from guiding Durham to the County Championship in 2013, a winning mentality could seriously benefit a pretty distraught dressing room right now.
While Onions has never played a Test against either of this summer’s visitors, Sri Lanka or India, he would offer the touring batsman something of a challenge as they adjust to a new bowler.
A potentially career-ending back injury in 2010 was what initially cost the Gateshead-born bowler his place in the England side. But he has come back from that adversity to shine for Durham.
Doubts remain around whether or not that injury has detrimentally decreased his pace with the ball, yet sheer speed alone will not take wickets. If he were to be given another chance, we would be likely to see a changed player, who has adapted his game for the better.
Competition for a spot in the Alistair Cook’s team is tough, but Graham Onions is one of those players you just feel was never given enough of an opportunity in England cricketing whites.
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