Onions to travel to Abu Dhabi with Durham
Graham Onions, who was forced to pull out of England's Test series against Bangladesh with a back injury, will be travelling with Durham when the county champions play MCC in a floodlit four-day game in Abu Dhabi in the opening fixture of the English season at the end of the month
Onions is not expected to play in the match, however, and is making the trip as the first step in his recuperation. It is expected he will be fully fit by the time Durham take on Essex on April 15.
"His injury doesn't seem too bad, so we hope he will have a quick recuperation," Durham coach Geoff Cook told The Northern Echo. "England have asked us to take him to Abu Dhabi to help with his rehabilitation. We will be aiming to have him ready for the first county match against Essex."
Mark Davies, the fast-medium seamer who was called up from the England Performance Squad to the Test squad in South Africa as cover for James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom, will also be going to Abu Dhabi to aid his rehabilitation after he had an operation to remove some floating bone from his ankle earlier this month.
In a break from the traditional season opener at Lord's, MCC decided to transfer the fixture to Abu Dhabi in order to ensure it would not be blighted by poor weather, and to trial the use of the pink ball under floodlights - with a view to paving the way for use of the innovation in Test cricket.
"Some counties are forsaking pre-season tours, and we would probably have been in that boat were it not for the MCC meeting most of our costs," added Cook. "Some people seem to think we have loads of money because we are champions, but for all the counties at the moment making ends meet is quite tricky."