England v South Africa, 1st Test, The Oval July 18, 2012

Onions doubtful for first Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graham Onions' chances of playing in the first Test against South Africa were receded further when he was unable to train on Wednesday at The Oval because of a hamstring strain.

Onions, the Durham fast bowler, is in England's 13-man squad as an extra pace bowler and after playing in the third Test against West Indies at Edgbaston had hoped to beat Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn for a place against South Africa. But he was not involved in Wednesday morning's net practice.

He has not yet been ruled out of contention to play when the first of a three-Test series starts on Thursday but the injury has not done his prospects any good. Even if fully fit, Onions faced stiff competition to fill a third seamer role, with Bresnan and Finn the leading candidates for the position.

Onions has taken 32 wickets at 29.90 in nine Tests for England - including 10 wickets as England regained the Ashes in 2009. But he suffered a career-threatening back injury and was ruled out of the 2010 season, only returning to Test action as James Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested for the Edgbaston Test this summer, where he returned 4 for 88.

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  • Martin on July 19, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    @RandyOz Its an interesting commentary on the current state of Australian cricket when you have to hope for South Africa to give England a good game rather than your home Country.

    Just as an aside how do you come up with the 'journeyman' tag for Onions. He is a Durham boy and has only ever played for that County. Of his 9 Tests so far 3 were against Australia in 2009 Ashes (won by England 2-1 as I'm sure you recall) and he took 10 wickets with a best of 4-58. Useful for a 'journeyman' who is about the 5th best seamer in England's squad.

  • John on July 19, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    @CSmith1985 on (July 18 2012, 15:27 PM GMT), I don't think anyone is forgetting that. I'm certainly not. That still doesn't mean that he would have been selected here. I think that most people believe that Bresnan will be selected if fit, if for no other reason than he 's the man in possession and England usually don't drop someone without compelling reason. If Bresnan is injured though, despite the fact that Onions perhaps out-bowled Finn in that last WI Test, most people see Finn as a star in the making and he has bowled well in ODIs since then.

  • John on July 18, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    @5wombats on (July 18 2012, 13:01 PM GMT) RE "Fight Fire With Fire" - have you been watching too many of the Sky adverts? Seriously , Onions would unlikely have played but I hope it's just a little niggle. Re fighting fire with fire/going for the jugular - however we word it - 5 bowlers would be doing that especially if there's weather about , having 5 bowlers is always going to be more likely to force a result. Anyway back to reality I think they'll go for Bres unless he's unfit and TBH , Bres adds a variation as he is better with the old ball so I'd probably stick with him.

  • Michael on July 18, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Thiis filthy weather would probably make Oniions an even bet in my view, but I would stick with Bresnan both to lengthen the batting under cloud cover, because is most likely to mop up with all his varieties and because he brings luck it would seem.

  • Max on July 18, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Anyway he would have been in the sidelined even if he was fit. English bowling attack is too strong

  • ian on July 18, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Onions would only have played if there'd been an injury to the three first picks. All the same, it is not good news for someone who has worked extremely hard to get back in, or near, the side - cruel luck indeed. BTW, I was reading about the last time that England was the premier Test side - pre-ranking days of course - in the 1950s, prior to the Ashes series in '58-'59, & it struck me that Bresnan is our modern Trevor Bailey, although Bres is a more free-scoring bat than the Boil ever was. But both TB & TB (!) were/are the engine-room of the side, less eye-catching than some others but - by heavens - as reliable as the rock of Gibraltar. Carrying on the parallels, I'd have Onions down as Peter Loader, a fine bowler who seldom got a look in because of Trueman, Statham, Bailey, Bedser - and Tyson for a short while.

  • Prasanna on July 18, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    May the best of the ( South African ) teams win !!

  • Clare on July 18, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Is everyone forgetting he was the best bowler in the last West Indies test? Its a real shame I think he would have had a good chance of selection and SA have been quoted saying they don't like to face him.

  • Rayner on July 18, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    @RandyOz, I bet Australia would love to have a bowler the quality of onions in their side at the moment. I seem to have read in the article he took a 10for last time he played against your lot? and that was back in '09 when Punter still had some quality of eyesight left. As for journeyman, he's only played for one county.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Onions no Onions.....or Spring Onions....SA would dominate the series....English have no answer to Dale Steyn, Morkel and Philander....on the batting front..Kallis and Amla can bat for days...the only thing English can do is pray that they don't suffer a whitewash

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