Graham Onions has been called into the England One Day International squad to replace Andrew Flintoff for both the remainder of the current seven match series against Australia and the Champions Trophy in South Africa that starts in two weeks time.
It is just reward for Onions who has had an impressive season for both Durham and England, he also had a positive impact on the normally hard to please Aussies during the recent Ashes series. Although Onions has performed better in 1st Class cricket rather than the One Day format it is recognition that he is now regarded as an international class bowler who can add quality to the England attack.
He was unlucky to be left out of The Oval side for the 5th Test, a victim of the returning Andrew Flintoff and the selectors desire to stick with the explosive but wayward bowling of Steve Harmison in the hope he still had a match winning performance in him.
It is my view that – despite the negative press he received early during the Ashes series – Onions brings a different element to England’s pace attack. His bowling action seems economical and therefore hopefully he will be able to steer clear of the sort of wear and tear injuries that regularly blight England bowlers.
If he is given the time – regularly afforded to failing batsmen – he could develop into the good line and length bowler that England need, the sort of bowler who will tie up an end and run in all day giving his captain the chance to rotate his strike bowling and swing options from the other end.
Also to try and make scoring difficult giving his captain an element of control – England’s attack seems to have too many bowlers at the moment who can go all round the park at times, when they are not taking wickets they can be a liability.
It is that line and length that if mastered is a major asset for an international bowler, the ability to have a batsman not knowing whether to come forward or stay back and also not knowing whether to play it or leave it – to create uncertainty in the batsman’s mind. Onions appears to try to put the ball in that area, and with his wicket to wicket action he continually asks questions of the batsmen.
He is not the finished article by a long way, and he is also still finding his feet as a test cricketer. Given time though hopefully he will develop into the top class bowler that England badly need now that Flintoff has gone.