Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 55 Days Until the Ashes…
Not so only ago we wrote on article on our love for Graeme Swann entitled it 10 Things to Love About Graeme Swann. One of the reasons to love him was the great cricketing name “Graeme” or “Graham”. That got me thinking. There’s one “Graham” out there – with an “h” in this instance – who not so long again ago rapidly became part of the England furniture only to disappear off the face of the planet because of a potentially career threatening back injury. I’m of course talking about Graham Onions.
Those people who have forgotten just how good Graham Onions is might be forgiven. After all, during his absence England have had a giddy time of it all – winning the T20 World Cup and defeating everything in its path to claim 6 straight series. But what cannot be reiterated enough is just how different a prospect it is beating a bloodthirsty and vengeful Australia in their backyard compared with defeating minnows Bangladesh and erratic Pakistan at home.
Any England fan who can remember beyond the summer just past will appreciate just how sorely missed Graham Onions will be in the upcoming Ashes series. He’s the kind of bowler that should prosper in Australian conditions. He bowls wicket to wicket, hits the deck hard, bowls a nagging length outside off stump, gets that little bit of movement and is arguably more accurate than anyone in the current bowling unit. The same cannot be said for England’s spearhead James Anderson. He is the only bowler in the current lineup to have war wounds from the Ashes in 2007 and question marks still remain as to whether he can be as devastating in non-swinging conditions. Jimmy Anderson is a much more complete bowler than then but nevertheless there is an air of doubt surrounding him.
Meanwhile Steven Finn is the bowler that resembles Onions the most. His height and ability to bowl the heavy ball should stand him in good stead. He also appears to have a good temperament that might be hard for the Aussies to rattle. Aided by Onions’ injury he’s grabbed his opportunity with both arms. But having said that, he is the most inexperienced of all the English bowlers.
So where would Onions feature in the current pecking order of English bowlers?
Without a doubt he’d be on the plane. England fans would be brimming with confidence to be able to turn to Onions if one of the original lineup misfired. Had he not got injured for my money he’d still be in the starting lineup. Despite unflattering figures in the drawn series in South Africa, Onions was the star performer with the ball for England. Not to mention his heroic efforts with the bat to salvage two unlikely draws.
Go a little further back to The Ashes in 2009 and you again see how much of an integral cog he was to the England unit. Who could forget the double strike from the first two deliveries of day 2 of the Edgbaston test?
England fans may have put Graham Onions to the back of their minds right now – maybe with the exception of Lily Allen – but when this Ashes series starts to bite he’ll be sorely missed. I miss Graham Onions!
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