Onions called up to England squad
Graham Onions has been called up to the England squad for the final Test against India at The Oval after Chris Tremlett was ruled out due to his back injury while concerns emerged over James Anderson.
Tremlett has failed to recover from the problems that ruled him out of the second and third Tests, meanwhile Anderson has experienced tightness in his right quadriceps since the victory at Edgbaston, on Sunday, which sealed the series and took England to No. 1 in the world. Steven Finn was already in the 13-man squad and now Onions will provide a further option for Andy Flower.
For Onions it is his first call-up to the full national side since leaving the tour of Bangladesh in March 2010 with a back injury that would subsequently be diagnosed as a stress fracture and put his career in doubt. He missed the whole of the 2010 season and towards the end of the summer had metal pins inserted in his back.
"Unfortunately Chris Tremlett has failed a fitness test and won't be available for selection for the fourth Test, despite showing strong signs of recovery over the past few days," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "Chris's absence in conjunction with what appears to be a minor injury concern with Jimmy Anderson has led to a call up for Graham Onions as precautionary bowling cover.
"We are hopeful that Jimmy will overcome this niggle by Thursday but more time is required before a decision on his availability can be made conclusively. Steven Finn is obviously in the squad and he is now joined by Graham Onions who has been in good form for Durham since returning from a back injury at the start of the season."
Onions has taken 39 wickets at 28.82 in nine Championship matches for Durham this season and played for England Lions against Sri Lanka at Derby in May. He only took three wickets in that match but bowled with good pace and has remained highly rated by the selectors throughout his injury lay-off.
In eight Tests Onions has taken 28 wickets at 31.03 including a best of 5 for 38 which came on debut against West Indies at Lord's. However, he is equally famous for two efforts with the bat when he survived the final overs against South Africa at Centurion and Cape Town. The Test at Newlands was his last because he was then dropped for the final match of the series at Johannesburg before injury struck in Bangladesh.
Onions has been preferred over Jade Dernbach, the Surrey fast bowler, who was named as cover for the Lord's Test against Sri Lanka earlier this season and has also made his one-day international debut. Whether he earns a recall to the XI will depend on whether Anderson, who has 18 wickets in the series including his four-wicket burst to remove the India top order on the fourth day at Edgbaston, is replaced with a like-for-like bowler should he not recover by Thursday.
Finn is the next pace bowler in line for a spot having played against Sri Lanka and has been a regular part of the squad, but Flower and Andrew Strauss may decide that with Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan able to trouble India with the short ball that Onions' fuller length is a better option.