Pakistan v England 2011-12 December 11, 2011

Onions to provide bowling cover

ESPNcricinfo staff
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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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  • 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.

  • h.m.u.f.c 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

  • AlanHarrison 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

  • 5wombats 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.

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

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

  • h.m.u.f.c on December 14, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    england really struggle with quality depth pakistani bowling

  • h.m.u.f.c 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..

  • JG2704 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.

  • JG2704 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

  • JG2704 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

  • 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.

  • h.m.u.f.c 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

  • AlanHarrison 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

  • 5wombats 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.

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

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

  • h.m.u.f.c on December 14, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    england really struggle with quality depth pakistani bowling

  • h.m.u.f.c 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..

  • JG2704 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.

  • JG2704 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

  • JG2704 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

  • JG2704 on December 14, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    @PakCricketFeroz on (December 12 2011, 10:57 AM GMT) - England are usually poor in the OD format so we'll forget that. May I remind you that - as recent as 2010 - this rubbish bowling unit bowled out your guys 3 times for less than 100 and twice for les than 200 in a 4 match series. I'll just quote the facts rather than come out with all the classless lol's,ha has etc

  • Umms on December 14, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    England is a great test side and they have picked their game in 50 over as well. They have the advantage of Bell, Strauss, KP and Cook. They all can play long innings, they also have some good seam bowlers. In first session bowl is going to swing as well. Pakistan has still prove their consistency, that can they beat a real quality side like England. Sadly for Pakistan, their batting is not so strong, if any given day they have to chase anything over 240, they are most likely to falter. Though they have Ajmal and Rehman two very good spinners. Their fast bowling depend on Gul and are relatively very new. I expect a hard series for both sides. Probably England will sneak out. But people should realise about current Pakistani team, how they have comeout of spot fixing and other off field problems and performed well. Yes they have won against BD, but same BD beat NZ last year. Message from Pakistani Canadian fan.

  • jmcilhinney on December 14, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    Oh Randy, still living in the past. You know that Gilchrist has retired, right? Players light Gilchrist damaged the figures of a lot of bowlers, but he is gone and the glory days with him. By the way, who is Australia's second spinner these days? There's been such a procession lately I'm not sure who's still on the map and who isn't.

  • on December 13, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    The way Australia got turned over by an average NZ team put into perspective England's Ashes series win. England then beat an injury ravaged Indian team suffering a World Cup hangover on tailor made pitches followed by a lot of chest thumping and cartwheels. Truth of the matter is that England are a side full of journeymen,Irish and South African mercenaries that nobody in their right mind would pay to watch.

  • Nikhilbuchhally on December 13, 2011, 16:26 GMT

    @ PakCricketFiroz Pakistan Will Lose 3-0!! Your Comparing Umar Gul to Anderson and Broad!!! What a shame... Umar Gul is no where near them...

  • RandyOZ on December 13, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Onions and Panesar? Haha. Panesar - I thought his career was flattened by Gilly at the WACA in 06/07!

  • RandyOZ on December 13, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    @jonsey2 - very well put. And Harris is better than Siddle by far as well!

  • jmcilhinney on December 13, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    @RandyOz, you know the Australian depth is paper thin when Onions is England's sixth-choice seamer and he has a better test average and strike rate than Peter Siddle.

  • on December 12, 2011, 20:01 GMT

    out on those dead tracks without seaming conditions , u think England can do well ? ... i doubt it , they should opt for adil rashid rather than going for a backup seamer ... we all know how good Pakistan's spin squadron is .. umar gul ,wahab riaz,junaid and cheema form a good pace unit ... UAE will be all for spinners , i dont think other than Swann there wud be any threat to pakistan . ... and please stop praising Bowlers like Anderson ... this tour would be a big failure for Anderson coz a kid like him can only bowl in helpful conditions .

  • JG2704 on December 12, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (December 12 2011, 10:32 AM GMT) I bet you wish your lot had a bit more depth after today's collapse/humiliation? And you gloated about how you predicted your boys would thrash NZ. Maybe you ought to concentrate on predictions re your own team before going global

  • rawcrickettalent on December 12, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    @ Trickstar .....really???really????really???? really?? cant believe it!!!!! I guess you forgot what happened in 3rd Odi last year... well England were cruising and the "poor" Umar Gul came on and destroyed England with SIX wickets and England lost ...can onions do dat?? or maybe Anderson,,, lets see Broad??? Hmmm Finn??? And Bresnan??? and OH wait maybe Tremlett ...HAHAAHAAHAHA none of them can do that Lol ...

  • RandyOZ on December 12, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    You know the depth is paper thin when Onions is a backup. Haha. Very funny.

  • jmcilhinney on December 12, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    Yes RandyOz, you would imagine, because you've proven to have one of the most vivid imaginations of those who post here. Regardless of your opinions on foreign born players in the England team, none of our test bowlers were born outside England so your point, if point it can be called, is even less relevant than usual. As for England players being unfit, the only reason that Onions is being used in this way is because we have three bowlers ahead of him who recovering from injury. It's hardly a case of worrying about bowlers breaking down during the tour but more a case of their not having recovered from previous injuries soon enough. England have so many bowling options that there's no point risking anyone. As for being scared, as if any #1 team would be scared of anyone. Wary and respectful of others ability but "scared" is just something that fools say to make themselves feel more important. @jonesy2, the same Siddle all Australia wanted dropped?

  • big_al_81 on December 12, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    Actually WeeBee I think most of us would be quite happy if you don't bother to comment again tomorrow on this subject if it's as clueless as saying England are only good in England. When did Pakistan last beat Australia 3-1 in Australia?In fact, how often does that happen at all? Oh and while we're at it, perhaps you could take note of the fact that England are quite a lot better at Tests than ODIs and those 50 over matches they played in India were the latter. I think Pakistan in the weird world of the Middle East will be a challenge but I don't think the number 1 side in the world on merit are going to be especially scared of a team with one proven top class batsman and a couple of quite promising bowlers. I'm pleased to see Pakistan on the way back though.

  • RandyOZ on December 11, 2011, 22:34 GMT

    @meast, just a correction, you mean United XI I imagine.

  • meast on December 11, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    @jonesy2 - Siddle is better than all the English bowlers in which way exactly? If we compare the test statistics of Siddle, Bresnan, Broad, Tremlett, Anderson and Finn we find that Siddle has the worst average and the worst strike rate. How about we look at the ICC rankings? In this case Siddle does manage to come in above Finn, but below Bresnan and Tremlett and miles behind Broad and Anderson. In ODI rankings he comes in at 126th in the world, so he isn't exactly setting the world alight there either. The facts show clearly that Siddle isn't better than the English bowlers in any way at all and he would struggle to get into an England XI.

  • JG2704 on December 11, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    @Talha Shahzad - On what basis do you work out that our bowlers lack fitness? I would go as far as to say that the team's fitness as a whole has been one of the biggest reasons for our success in the test matches. Also I'm guessing that if any Pakistan players get injured it'll be because they are unlucky but when any England players get injured it will be because they are unfit- am I right?

  • 5wombats on December 11, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    @Trickstar - hey matie! Welcome back! The thing about Onions is - it's good that we have such a useful bowler as him - and he can't even get in the squad! To be honest though - gotta feel sorry for him as he's worked hard to get back and he still hasn't made the cut. He may still end up getting a go though. Also, on balance, we'd rather read jonesy2 comments than those from another certain country this is not going to be playing in the UAE in January. Jonesy2 knows he's having a laugh - but some of the others on cricinfo actually believe what they are writing! @WeeBee- you are new here, truly you have a fertile imagination if you think England are "scared" of any team. @maximum6 - "straight up and down like a toilet seat"!!! I love it!!! :-)

  • Tigg on December 11, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    I'm curious as to why having a backup seamer 'just in case' that will already be adapted to the local conditions is a mistake.

    England are probably the fittest cricket team in the world. There's a reason our batsmen keep getting big hundreds, it's because they don't get tired easily.

    I doubt they are scared of Pakistan. Gul is solid but unspectacular in test match cricket, Cheema seems alright and Ajmal is a proven threat. Man for man England have a far superior batting line up. Younis is the only genuine high class batsman in the side.

  • on December 11, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    I think it says that England are the best Test nation in the world plus 20/20 world champions as well.

  • Trickstar on December 11, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    @Talha Shahzad LOL lack fitness, really?, this coming from a Pakistan fan, yes they obviously lack fitness, just look how many different bowlers we've had the last couple of years, oh wait it's the same 5 or 6 it has been. Cling to whatever makes you feel better though, if you want to talk about a side who's bowlers are unfit it's Oz, they can't even get through a series without a coupe breaking down. Still England's back up bowlers are better than the likes of Gul etc, so I wouldn't worry. I love that the Pakistani fans start puffing out their chests again, it's going to be more the sweeter when England run over them again.

  • Trickstar on December 11, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @jonesy2 Never fails to deliver a cringe or two do you jonsey, I mean anyone that wums as much as you, shows how much the Oz lot have fallen. It really is killing you isn't it, Oz are a comedy side and England top of the pile, taste them lemons. Siddle LoL he's the definition of average, he turns up against the joke batting of NZ where has he been for the last year, he was still living on his hat trick, the again it's not hard to look good against NZ, there even worse than Bang . The funny thing is the Aussie's have produced a couple of the greenest tracks they've done in decades, to make them fell good by how ordinary their attack is, back fired a bit though because they forgot how bad their own batting line up is.

  • spence1324 on December 11, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @talha shazad trust me thay will not turn up to the UAE unfit. These guys are professional athletes,they are not india you know!

  • on December 11, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    If you say so chap. He didn't look that good against England when we rolled you 3-1 down at your place though, bar a 5fer in your consolation victory. Siddle just doesn't seem to do a lot with the ball. Onions has a lot going for him, bowls 90mph, moves it off the seam both ways, and can get a bit of shape in the air too. Vastly improved bowler from before his Test career started!

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 11, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    @jonesy 2. I can see why Starc understudies Johnson. Seems to have similar radar problems as 'Which pitch Mitch' Yeah-a real like for like. As for Siddle I remember last winter well enough. One innings wonder as birthday boy then straight up and down like a lavatory seat the rest of the series. I'd say i was jealouis as hell !!!!!Ha ha. What universe are you in, mate? Apart from Steyn and Morkel,Zaheer K and a couple of Paks in prison, we've got just about all the decent seamers around. And half of them aren't even in the touring squad.

  • parcher9 on December 11, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    haha, i'd rather have anderson, broad, bresman and tremlett over siddle, doug the rug, johnson and cummins any day

  • WeeBee on December 11, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    OMG! English selectors are so scared of Pakistan! another player added. I think English Team should bring 50 players to UAE and then select from them, who is injured who is not. Haha Really scared. Every other day a new player is added to the team. And one thing to mention here , Strauss said he dont want to play in UAE. Reasons he did not mention .. I think he just want to play in England, and scared of going outside and get defeated for example INDIA TOUR.... see you tomorow when English will add another player into team and i will comment on it.

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    Ben Tumilty-- really? geez the fact that siddle is better than every english bowler must have you stewing. and you called him average. what does that say about england?

  • on December 11, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    couple of england bowlers will surely get injured in this tour bcoz they lack fitness......this doesnt seem bcoz they mostly plays in UK whr conditionx r nt that tough.......so dont be suprise even if they have to sent couple of more average pacers to UAE during the series.....D

  • on December 11, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Jonesy - Says the side whose spearhead is none other than the distinctly average Peter Siddle! Brilliant! Glad you've piped up after Australia's good first innings effort with the bat. Onions is a proven performer, and I'm glad to see him back in the England set-up!

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    england really struggle with quality depth dont they.

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  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    england really struggle with quality depth dont they.

  • on December 11, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Jonesy - Says the side whose spearhead is none other than the distinctly average Peter Siddle! Brilliant! Glad you've piped up after Australia's good first innings effort with the bat. Onions is a proven performer, and I'm glad to see him back in the England set-up!

  • on December 11, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    couple of england bowlers will surely get injured in this tour bcoz they lack fitness......this doesnt seem bcoz they mostly plays in UK whr conditionx r nt that tough.......so dont be suprise even if they have to sent couple of more average pacers to UAE during the series.....D

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    Ben Tumilty-- really? geez the fact that siddle is better than every english bowler must have you stewing. and you called him average. what does that say about england?

  • WeeBee on December 11, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    OMG! English selectors are so scared of Pakistan! another player added. I think English Team should bring 50 players to UAE and then select from them, who is injured who is not. Haha Really scared. Every other day a new player is added to the team. And one thing to mention here , Strauss said he dont want to play in UAE. Reasons he did not mention .. I think he just want to play in England, and scared of going outside and get defeated for example INDIA TOUR.... see you tomorow when English will add another player into team and i will comment on it.

  • parcher9 on December 11, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    haha, i'd rather have anderson, broad, bresman and tremlett over siddle, doug the rug, johnson and cummins any day

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 11, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    @jonesy 2. I can see why Starc understudies Johnson. Seems to have similar radar problems as 'Which pitch Mitch' Yeah-a real like for like. As for Siddle I remember last winter well enough. One innings wonder as birthday boy then straight up and down like a lavatory seat the rest of the series. I'd say i was jealouis as hell !!!!!Ha ha. What universe are you in, mate? Apart from Steyn and Morkel,Zaheer K and a couple of Paks in prison, we've got just about all the decent seamers around. And half of them aren't even in the touring squad.

  • on December 11, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    If you say so chap. He didn't look that good against England when we rolled you 3-1 down at your place though, bar a 5fer in your consolation victory. Siddle just doesn't seem to do a lot with the ball. Onions has a lot going for him, bowls 90mph, moves it off the seam both ways, and can get a bit of shape in the air too. Vastly improved bowler from before his Test career started!

  • spence1324 on December 11, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @talha shazad trust me thay will not turn up to the UAE unfit. These guys are professional athletes,they are not india you know!

  • Trickstar on December 11, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @jonesy2 Never fails to deliver a cringe or two do you jonsey, I mean anyone that wums as much as you, shows how much the Oz lot have fallen. It really is killing you isn't it, Oz are a comedy side and England top of the pile, taste them lemons. Siddle LoL he's the definition of average, he turns up against the joke batting of NZ where has he been for the last year, he was still living on his hat trick, the again it's not hard to look good against NZ, there even worse than Bang . The funny thing is the Aussie's have produced a couple of the greenest tracks they've done in decades, to make them fell good by how ordinary their attack is, back fired a bit though because they forgot how bad their own batting line up is.