Ashes Betting – No Bunny Onions

There was – in my view – one startling omission from the Ashes touring squad announced by England earlier this week.

I thought the decision to leave out Graham Onions in place of  an all bean-pole attack could have be a bit of a short sighted one, and potentially a huge mistake by the England management.

Nothing against the guys all picked, any regular readers of this website will know that I am a huge Chris Tremlett fan. Steven Finn is a long term project, leaving him out may have damaged his confidence, and Boyd Rankin’s good form and the fact that he looked more than at home in the recent ODI’s have seen him justifiably picked.

If any of those guys are really lucky to be picked, I suppose it has to be Tremlett. To be honest, I expected him not too make it into the squad. I know he was brought back into the England set up earlier in the year to re-familiarise himself with the group, with a view to him going on this tour, but I thought that Boyd Rankin would have just edged him out.

The reason I would have taken Graham Onions is the same reason why England have taken Monty Panesar.. quite simply for cover. In the cases of both Onions and Panesar, neither of them are in the class of Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann, but both are adequate cover.

I know that the selectors have basically decided one of Finn, Tremlett or Rankin could replace Anderson if he picked up an injury on the morning of a Test match, but would the lack of variation that the bean pole attack would give you really be adequate on all Australian pitches?

Maybe I am nitpicking, or maybe it isn’t practical to cover all bases, I don’t know. There is no out and out reserve wicket keeper (I know Jonny Bairstow is there) in the squad also, so clearly the selectors don’t see it as practical to cover every possible outcome.  

That said, I still feel very sorry for Graham Onions. I’m not sure it is the end of him for England, but his prospects don’t look good beyond this tour, when England will most probably be starting to look at younger bowlers.

I wouldn’t rule out the prospect of him being called onto this tour if there are a couple of injuries to bowlers though, but there is also Tim Bresnan to potentially come back, and assuming any replacements won’t be called up until a few weeks into the tour, Bresnan could be fit by them.

I was pleased to see Monty Panesar recalled, a lot of his off-field problems could be partially down to the fact he is not involved with England, this call up could give him plenty of encouragement and give him something to focus on. It also gives the England management plenty of chance to monitor him closely and see how he is doing.

Whatever Geoff Miller tells us about Gary Ballance’s call up not being a left field one…. it was. The biggest surprise to me about his call up though, was the lack of reaction/outburst from Nick Compton.

I am pleased to see England take a back up opener, although I suspect that Michael Carberry is as much cover for Gary Pratt, as he is for the openers – a good choice though.

The announcement of the England squad has had little effect on the Ashes Betting odds, as England are still the odds on favourites with the bookmakers. Full odds are Australia 7/4, Drawn Series 9/2, England 5/6 (there is a £25.00 free bet for new customers opening an account).

The Return of Graham Onions

It was great to see Graham Onions back playing cricket and taking wickets for Durham in their win over Yorkshire in the latest round of County Championship games.

5 wickets in the 1st innings, 6 in the match – I’d say Onions would have happily taken that at the start of the game.

Apparently England selector James Whitaker was there to see Onions take his 5 wickets, it’s hard to see where Onions could fit into the England set-up at the moment though.

A lot has happened in the 15 months he has been out for. Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan are now all ahead of Onions in the race for the 3rd seamers spot in the England test team.

Another player who may well have jumped ahead of Onions is Chris Woakes. Woakes impressed in Australia and has also got his County Championship season off to a good start.

If Onions can get back to the level he was at in 2009, then England will have a nice problem. With the amount of cricket played these days and the injuries picked up by bowlers, it is always handy to have players of the quality of Onions in reserve.

Graham Onions impressive season rewarded

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.