Graham Onions: Why He Will Never Play International Cricket for England Again

Chris Teale@@chris_tealeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Graham Onions of England  during the LV= Challenge match between Essex and England at Ford County Ground on July 3, 2013 in Chelmsford, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Graham Onions’ joining of the Dolphins franchise in South Africa during the winter, dependent “upon England selections” was a statement made in hope rather than expectation.

Unless something miraculous happens, his international career with England is over.

The 30-year-old from Durham has made nine appearances in Test matches and four in One Day Internationals since making his international debut against the West Indies in 2009.

However, he has found chances in the England team hard to come by, even after a successful 2009 Ashes series (per ESPNCricinfo) and last played for his country in 2012, against the West Indies.

Having failed to achieve selection for this year’s Ashes or the ODI series that followed, it would appear that his career with his country is all-but over.

The following issues caused this situation.

His Injury Record

The primary area which counts against Graham Onions’ efforts to earn a place in the England side is his injury record.

In 2010, he was out of action for nine months with a back injury that nearly finished his career.

This came in addition to surgery that he underwent that same year to repair cartilage in his left knee, which had already meant he would miss most of the 2010 season regardless of the condition of his back.

Despite his impressive First Class bowling performances this season (per ESPNCricinfo), there is always an underlying risk that he will break down once again.

Those injuries will have taken their toll on Onions’ body, and given the rigours of the international calendar, another physical problem could possibly be just around the corner. 

His Similarity to James Anderson

In England’s search to find the perfect bowling attack they look for a variety of skills, whether that is the ability to swing the ball in the air, move it off the seam or find steepling bounce from the pitch.

Graham Onions is known for his ability to move the ball in the air and off the seam, an art James Anderson has perfected arguably like no other in world cricket.

As such, England are looking for something a little different from their other bowlers, especially when considering Stuart Broad's height, reverse swing and ability to hit the pitch hard.

Unfortunately, Graham Onions is a little too similar to these two premier fast bowlers, so he would be unlikely to force his way into the side alongside them.

He Has Fallen Behind Other Bowlers

Given the injury problems that Graham Onions has experienced, it is no surprise that other fast bowlers have stepped up for England and moved ahead of him in the pecking order.

The primary player to take advantage of this has been Tim Bresnan, whose superior batting talents and ability to provide a challenge on even the most lifeless of pitches has been invaluable.

Steven Finn is another who has shown promise when given the chance by England. If he can find consistency and fitness he will prove a real handful at international level.

Meanwhile, Boyd Rankin, Chris Jordan and Jamie Overton were all rewarded for their impressive showings for the England Lions against Bangladesh A with selection for the ODI squad.

Unfortunately, given the young players that are coming through and the other fringe players around him, there seems to be no more room for Graham Onions.