Pakistan v England 2011-12 December 11, 2011

Onions to provide bowling cover

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graham Onions, the Durham pace bowler, will travel with the England squad to UAE next month to provide cover for the fast-bowling attack in the opening weeks of the trip.

Onions won't be an official member of the squad which was named on Friday but the selectors want to ensure there is adequate back-up available to Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss with three of the quick bowlers - Stuart Broad (shoulder), Chris Tremlett (back) and Tim Bresnan (elbow) - recovering from injuries.

Tremlett hasn't featured for England since the first Test against India, at Lord's, and Broad hasn't played since the fourth ODI against the same team at the same ground in September. Both are currently in South Africa, along with Onions and James Anderson, at a training camp with the performance programme players. Bresnan, meanwhile, recently underwent elbow surgery to remove a bone fragment.

The England management are hopeful all three will be fit for selection ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, in Dubai, on January 17 and if Onions isn't required he is likely to return home when that match begins.

"We've obviously got some niggles from the seamer point of view, so Graham Onions will go out there in a cover capacity," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "If he's not required then he'll probably come back after the first Test, or even during it."

Onions hasn't played for England since the third Test against South Africa, at Newlands, in early 2010 after suffering a career-threatening back injury. However, he was back around the national set-up last season when he was called into the Test squad as cover for Anderson at The Oval. He then went to Ireland with the one-day squad and flew out to India for the ODI series in October after injury to Chris Woakes.

Onions may yet find himself in a similar position to Ajmal Shahzad, the Yorkshire pace bowler, on last year's Ashes tour when Shahzad started as an unofficial 17th member of the squad during the warm-up matches before the management decided to keep him on for the whole of the Test series.

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  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    5wombats: So you were at the oval, did you miss Dravid's hundred, and the fact that he had to come right back out and bat in the second innings as an "Injured" Gambhir could not bat ? I suppose you missed the 91 by Tendulkar or the 80 odd by a tail ender called Mishra. Now I don't know about you but most neutrals would prefer to watch a Shewag in full flow, a Tendulkar at his imperious best, an artist like Laxman or even an M S Dhoni rather than plodders like Trott and Cooke. The nearest thing you have got to a star is KP and he is South African.

  • Umer on December 14, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    very earlier to say any thing about win or lose but..this game will matter section wise..the onewho will play better he will be victorious

  • Alan on December 14, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @ hmufc: I agree it could be a difficult tour for England, but don't forget about the difference in formats. England have struggled badly in India in recent times, but particularly so in 50-over cricket. You mention Anderson and Broad doing well in Australia, but England also lost 6-1 in their last ODI series in their last ODI series in Aus. (Broad incidentally hardly took a wicket during the last Ashes series either). This suggests England will certainly struggle in the ODIs in UAE, but may put up a good fight in the tests and twenty20 matches. @ RandyOz: thanks you for your characteristically balanced observations

  • Martin on December 14, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira; "an injury ravaged Indian team"'.... Still trying to make excuses.... PLEASE NAME THESE INJURED INDIAN PLAYERS. (Not players like Yuvraj - who got injured by England bowlers, or Misra or Harbhajan who got injured by England batsmen). Justify these comments about "injuries" - with real examples or stop making them. "Pay to watch". I had tickets for the Oval Test 2011. Silly me - I paid to watch india 6 months in advance. By the time we got to The Oval india had been beaten out of sight and were a rag-tag that hardly knew one end of a bat from the other. I couldn't be bothered to go and watch. What a waste of money. We were so let down by india in 2011 - everyone should have got their money back.

  • Randolph on December 14, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    Bell, the worst player of spin on Earth, will get his stumps rattled very often by Ajmal!

  • Umer on December 14, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    england really struggle with quality depth pakistani bowling

  • Umer on December 14, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    England are always fav. in UK and Aus but in asian pitches their batsman forget to play..just in the recent tour VS india (with not a very good bowling attack)they struggled and crushed by 5-0 whith one sided matches like india won by 95 runs,by six wicks,by 5wicks ,by 8 wicks,by126runs thats not first time..they lost matches against weaker sides in WC..where their batsmans form goes in india?? about Anderson & broad they get wickets in UK and AUS but it doesnot mean that they does't get in asians pitches..but really they have to struggle..Swann is always best..

  • John on December 14, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    @Rafaye Farooqui on (December 12 2011, 20:01 PM GMT) - Nice to see someone with a semblance of balance from your neck of the woods. I agree that Eng should have taken an extra spinner - probably Kerrigan on last years form - instead of Tremlett or Finn. Time will tell with Jimmy. He is number 2 in the rankings and if he is proven not to have learnt to bowl in these conditions he will slip down the rankings.

  • John on December 14, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (December 13 2011, 23:12 PM GMT) - I can only apologise about our gloating,chest thumping fans , especially considering that the Indian fans have been so graceful and kind in their words towards our team ever since the last test series ended. It was so refreshing that they offered no excuses for their teams failures and have wished England all the best ever since. Happy days

  • John on December 14, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (December 13 2011, 07:50 AM GMT) - Very well put , because you and Jonesy are probably the same person. Neither of you has come up with any justification why Siddle or Harris for that matter is better than any of the England bowlers. We have 5 bowlers ahead of your best ranked bowler in the rankings

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