England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street August 7, 2013

Tremlett and Onions at crossroads

If life was fair and just both reserve quicks would get a chance to show they can cut it at Test level, but that is not the way professional sport works
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Clint Eastwood almost certainly wasn't thinking about Graham Onions or Chris Tremlett when he growled "Deserve's got nothing to do with it," during the film Unforgiven, but the line works quite nicely all the same.

Onions and Tremlett deserve another chance in international cricket. Both are admirable characters, born with substantial gifts that, through years of hard work and honing, they developed to the point where they could be considered among the best in their country. Tremlett, at least, might have been on the threshold of something really quite special.

Then injury struck. Through no fault of their own, the careers which they had worked so hard to forge were jeopardised by serious injuries that required surgery. Both men have been forced not just to suffer the pain and uncertainty of the surgeon's knife but the months of rehabilitation and frustration that follow. Both have confessed to times when, struggling to even get out of bed, they feared that everything they have striven for was going to be denied them. They are no strangers to pain; physical or mental.

Yet both men revived their careers. Through remarkable feats of persistence, hard work, sacrifice and mental strength, both have returned to professional sport and performed with enough skill and success to warrant a recall to the international side.

Anyone can work hard in a full ground with the eyes of the world upon then; it takes a different level of determination to sustain hope and belief and the appetite for the fight when there is no-one around and you have to crawl on all fours in order to take yourself to the bathroom. Even if they never take the next step on their comeback journey, to have reached this point is an achievement of which they can be proud.

So both men deserve another chance.

But that's the rub. And that's where that Eastwood line comes in. Because life isn't fair or just or reasonable. It doesn't necessarily reward hard work and sacrifice and good intentions. It can coax and seduce and tantalise and still leave you empty handed. Professional sport can be a cruel business.

And the sad fact is that both Onions and Tremlett have much to do to prove they have what it take to return to enjoy a successful return to international cricket.

While Tremlett proved beyond reasonable doubt on the Ashes tour of 2010-11 and the few Tests he managed subsequently that he had the skills for Test cricket - the height, the pace, the accuracy and, often overlooked, the talent to move the ball in the air and off the pitch - he is not necessarily the same bowler now.

Certainly the evidence of his first few matches this season was that he had lost that crucial 3-4% that separate the excellent from the merely decent. While there is much talk of his 'potential' on Australian pitches, there is limited evidence to suggest he can replicate the bounce and pace he once managed. And potential remains the most over-used word in cricket. Tremlett is 32 within a month.

The statistics, as ever, are instructive and potentially misleading. Since Tremlett's latest comeback at the start of this season, for example, he has claimed 19 first-class wickets in seven matches at an average of 39.63. He has not always won selection in his county side.

But what that does not show is that he has bowled on some unusually flat wickets. It does not show, either, that he has, of late, found just a little extra menace to suggest he is, four months into the latest comeback, starting to get back to somewhere approaching his best.

And it does not show that he has recently enjoyed several net sessions against England's batsmen where he has troubled them significantly. He retains the confidence of the England bowling coach, David Saker and he might, just might, enjoy the coda his career deserves.

Onions figures are equally intriguing. Since the start of 2011, he has claimed 178 first-class wickets at the wonderfully impressive average of 22.17 apiece. It is even better than his pre-injury record of 230 first-class wickets at 30.10 apiece. If you believe the statistics, he might even be an improved bowler.

He is not as quick a bowler, though. He is sharp, he is persistent and he is probably the most accurate seamer in English cricket. He is almost never anything less than very good. But, like Chris Woakes, he might just lack the pace to make incisions on the flat wickets generally produced in Test cricket and, like Tremlett, injury might have robbed him of the vital fractions that caused the ball to bounce that much more and move that much later.

He would admit that, unlike Tremlett, he has played on some remarkably helpful wickets - the sort that will simply never occur in Test cricket - and his figures have to be interpreted in that context. He, too, is in his 30s - he will be 31 in September - and running out of time to resurrect an international career that has, like Tremlett, already included an Ashes victory. If he is overlooked on his home ground it is hard to see where he will return.

Both men have a better chance of playing than might be imagined. Both James Anderson and Stuart Broad appeared jaded by the end of the Old Trafford Test with Broad occasionally carrying the hint of a limp. They would not like it, but it is not impossible they could be rested for this Test.

Sadly, though Onions spoke to the media on Wednesday, the latest in a catalogue of controversies to erupt this season diverted attention from his inspiring comeback story. So, instead of much opportunity to talk about the journey from boyhood that has culminated in this chance to play a first Ashes Test at this relatively new venue, Onions was obliged to defend a side in which he has not played, against allegations which make little sense on a subject he knows little.

Over recent weeks, England have been falsely accused of spot-fixing, ball tampering, bat tampering and, despite the fact that no teams do so in international cricket, not 'walking' when edging the ball. Success, if seems, breeds the type of jealous smears that Pakistan have had to live with for decades.

If Tremlett or Onions play in Durham, surely even the hardest-hearted and cynical on-lookers will wish them well.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nottsfan on August 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Watched Graham Onions run through the Notts batting order at Trent Bridge last season, taking 9 wickets and spoiling his chances of taking all 10 by getting a run-out! I think that after Jimmy Anderson he is England's most lethal seam bowler and but for his injury would always have been a first-choice player. I rate Tremlett very highly too. With the series won I would play both, with a view to this winter's tour. Steve Finn will come good again. He just needs some time to get rhythym and confidence back. Sorry but I've not been impressed by what I've seen of Chris Woakes yet.

  • whoster on August 7, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Splendid article. It would be a very romantic story if either Tremlett or Onions make successful Test comebacks, but after major injuries, the question indeed needs to be asked whether they still have it at international level. No doubt the selectors have given serious thought about including Onions, and that after a lot of bowling - especially at Old Trafford, Broad and Anderson could do with a break. I'd very much like to see Onions play, even if he has lost a yard of pace. As long as he's retained his accuracy and ability to move the ball, he could still be a genuine threat - especially on his home ground.

    Tremlett's possibly got a little more to prove, but heartening news to hear he got the England batsmen hopping about in the nets recently!

  • on August 9, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    As an Aussie Swann is the only English bowler I would take. Harris is the best bowler on either side. This test the three best quicks have been selected. They will strangle the English out. That's not saying Starc and Pattinson are no good either.ThThey are certainly better than Tremlett and Onions. Anderson? Just look at his bowling average. Australia's problems lie in the batting. Their bowling is superior.

  • Patchmaster on August 9, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @ Randy Oz - hilarious to see you write about ENG's bowlers being poor, Michael Clarke would swap any of his bowlers for an ENG one, that's pretty obvious. Not sure any of the AUS bowlers, bar Siddle, would make it into the ENG side, certainly not your spinners, or come to think of it, your medium pacers (that you call fast medium) and your quicks, that spray it everywhere. Good luck tomorrow mate, maybe you'll win an ashes series in the fourth time of trying eh ?

  • JG2704 on August 9, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT) It's fair to say anything but totally untrue - as always. In Eng's most impressive game Jimmy took just 3 wkts in the match. Swann took 10

  • boxingkoala on August 9, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    As an Australian I must say Chris Tremlett is just the sort of bowler when going well we fear. He has good height, accuracy and bounce.

    Onions is a solid bowler. On the right pitch will be outstanding but we would not fear to the likes of Tremlett.

    Good position for England to be in having a crop of good bowlers tho. I sometimes wonder why broad is a gimmee in the team. I think he has bowled well and tight this Ashes, but is he worth being hard wired in when the are options like Onions/Tremlett and faced with a pitch more suited to them???

  • on August 9, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @randy oz England need at least one to stand up.....

    If I look at the stats Swann is top wkt taker, Anderson 3rd separated by Siddle On the batting, of the 4 players scoring over 200 only Clarke figures

    Maybe you need to look in your own yard before advising others? I also find is quite amazing Oz cricketers and commentators are heralding a draw (on the back of 6 straight losses) as a turning point. 1 half swallow does not make a summer my dear deluded chum Clarke's fear of losing 7 stopped Oz from having a chance of winning 1 and being back in the ashes - Fear stopped him declaring with 250 lead and giving a chance

    Fear will I feel be back at Durham

    For me Broad for Onions is the only change likely

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    I think it is fair to say that Anderson is the only bowler who posses any danger to Australia's batsmen. The rest are pretty ordinary. Even Swann hasn't bowled at his best this series. So it doesn't hurt to give Onions a game. He could bowl England to victory, who knows ?!

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    @SirViv1973 on (August 7, 2013, 22:06 GMT) Think you've summed up my points. Finn (when he plays for Middx) seems to be doing better than Tremlett for Surrey.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    Ben Stokes is not in the picture, at least not yet. Andy Flower was not impressed with his discipline on the recent Lions tour and had him sent home.

  • nottsfan on August 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Watched Graham Onions run through the Notts batting order at Trent Bridge last season, taking 9 wickets and spoiling his chances of taking all 10 by getting a run-out! I think that after Jimmy Anderson he is England's most lethal seam bowler and but for his injury would always have been a first-choice player. I rate Tremlett very highly too. With the series won I would play both, with a view to this winter's tour. Steve Finn will come good again. He just needs some time to get rhythym and confidence back. Sorry but I've not been impressed by what I've seen of Chris Woakes yet.

  • whoster on August 7, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Splendid article. It would be a very romantic story if either Tremlett or Onions make successful Test comebacks, but after major injuries, the question indeed needs to be asked whether they still have it at international level. No doubt the selectors have given serious thought about including Onions, and that after a lot of bowling - especially at Old Trafford, Broad and Anderson could do with a break. I'd very much like to see Onions play, even if he has lost a yard of pace. As long as he's retained his accuracy and ability to move the ball, he could still be a genuine threat - especially on his home ground.

    Tremlett's possibly got a little more to prove, but heartening news to hear he got the England batsmen hopping about in the nets recently!

  • on August 9, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    As an Aussie Swann is the only English bowler I would take. Harris is the best bowler on either side. This test the three best quicks have been selected. They will strangle the English out. That's not saying Starc and Pattinson are no good either.ThThey are certainly better than Tremlett and Onions. Anderson? Just look at his bowling average. Australia's problems lie in the batting. Their bowling is superior.

  • Patchmaster on August 9, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @ Randy Oz - hilarious to see you write about ENG's bowlers being poor, Michael Clarke would swap any of his bowlers for an ENG one, that's pretty obvious. Not sure any of the AUS bowlers, bar Siddle, would make it into the ENG side, certainly not your spinners, or come to think of it, your medium pacers (that you call fast medium) and your quicks, that spray it everywhere. Good luck tomorrow mate, maybe you'll win an ashes series in the fourth time of trying eh ?

  • JG2704 on August 9, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT) It's fair to say anything but totally untrue - as always. In Eng's most impressive game Jimmy took just 3 wkts in the match. Swann took 10

  • boxingkoala on August 9, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    As an Australian I must say Chris Tremlett is just the sort of bowler when going well we fear. He has good height, accuracy and bounce.

    Onions is a solid bowler. On the right pitch will be outstanding but we would not fear to the likes of Tremlett.

    Good position for England to be in having a crop of good bowlers tho. I sometimes wonder why broad is a gimmee in the team. I think he has bowled well and tight this Ashes, but is he worth being hard wired in when the are options like Onions/Tremlett and faced with a pitch more suited to them???

  • on August 9, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @randy oz England need at least one to stand up.....

    If I look at the stats Swann is top wkt taker, Anderson 3rd separated by Siddle On the batting, of the 4 players scoring over 200 only Clarke figures

    Maybe you need to look in your own yard before advising others? I also find is quite amazing Oz cricketers and commentators are heralding a draw (on the back of 6 straight losses) as a turning point. 1 half swallow does not make a summer my dear deluded chum Clarke's fear of losing 7 stopped Oz from having a chance of winning 1 and being back in the ashes - Fear stopped him declaring with 250 lead and giving a chance

    Fear will I feel be back at Durham

    For me Broad for Onions is the only change likely

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    I think it is fair to say that Anderson is the only bowler who posses any danger to Australia's batsmen. The rest are pretty ordinary. Even Swann hasn't bowled at his best this series. So it doesn't hurt to give Onions a game. He could bowl England to victory, who knows ?!

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    @SirViv1973 on (August 7, 2013, 22:06 GMT) Think you've summed up my points. Finn (when he plays for Middx) seems to be doing better than Tremlett for Surrey.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    Ben Stokes is not in the picture, at least not yet. Andy Flower was not impressed with his discipline on the recent Lions tour and had him sent home.

  • on August 8, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    @MaruthuDelft: "England will lose the Ashes heavily this winter."

    Well if that is to happen, Australia will need to improve their batting such that the average runs per wicket for each team in this series (Eng 35, Aus 30) are effectively reversed. Otherwise, it will be 2-1 or 3-1 to England unless Australia make sure that Old Trafford wasn't just a blip.

    As for Jimmy Anderson, yes, he's so overrated that, er, Australia couldn't play him in the last Ashes series. Hmmm, doesn't bode well for them really.

  • lala_fan on August 8, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    liked the part about pakistan :)

  • SirViv1973 on August 8, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    @HughL, I think it's a bit early to be worried about the selction for Aus. Hopefully Finn would have sorted out his issues by then & also Tremlett may well be looking something a bit more like his 2011 best. I would also give serious consideration to Rankin. He's been bowling quickly for War this year & has taken 28@24.5 and could prove to be a real handful on the bouncier Aus tracks. If all those work out then Onions could come in this week do well & still find himself sat at home this winter as his style is probably a bit less suited to Aus conditions than the others.

  • RandyOZ on August 8, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    England need at least one to stand up, anderson cannot continue to hold up the entire attack.

  • HughL on August 8, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    England are going to need serious back up for the winter. Anderson can't carry the attack all the time and Broad shows signs of wear and tear. Bresnan is a top team man but he's a back up option in Oz and is Finn going to get his mojo back?. As in 2010/11 someone else has to come to the party- then it was Tremlett and we need to know if either of these two is ready to go Down Under. Could play Onions at Durham and Trem at the Oval

  • MaruthuDelft on August 8, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Even Jimmy Anderson is not very good as many people claim. England will lose the Ashes heavily this winter.

  • Charlie101 on August 8, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    If it was another team such as Bangladesh ( no offence is meant to Bangladesh in any way ) I could see us resting bowlers but this is the Ashes and your best players will object to being rested so it would mean dropping a player . If Stuart Broad's foot is hurting and this is causing the limp then he has to be omitted due to injury. I hope Saker and Flower have checked this out as we do not want a repeat of last year with Broad - I have to say I did not see Broad limping on TV but I did not watch for many hours . I have a feeling that Tremlett will play at the Oval and Bresnan will have to make way

  • DustBowl on August 8, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    "Onions was obliged to defend a side in which he has not played..." If Onions doesn't play after exposure on this side issue - a total distraction particularly for him before a possible make-or-break Test match - then Flower and the mgt. are appalling man-managers. Even more cynically, they could be using a non-team member so that non of the team to be picked are exposed on this distraction?

  • liz1558 on August 8, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    Richard Ellison, Kabir Ali, Neil Mallender, Steve Watkin, Joey Benjamin, Tom Cartwright - outstanding county medium pacers, and horses for courses Test picks for England, generally successful, but it doesn't always work.

    Onions is worth a gamble - could do what Ellison did for a tired attack in 85. Anderson's best performances in England have always come in the first half of the summer - generally when the ball swings. Over the past four years, his late summer figures have been pretty ordinary because the ball didn't swing. Tremlett might not be as much of a gamble as a replacement for Anderson; JA isn't indispensable in these conditions. England need more firepower.

    Flower has got to be realistic about Anderson - there are certain conditions where he looks pretty innocuous. He shouldn't be afraid of rotating his best bowlers. The only indispensable bowler for England is Swann. Possibly only Ajmal is better in the world game - but not by much.

  • Mitty2 on August 8, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, if you want me to complete that list, here you go:

    He doesn't swing the ball, he doesn't ball fast enough, we have a million bowlers with a superior FC record and at least 10 with superior Shield seasons, he is a short format specialist (and yet you criticise the selections of Hughes and Warner because they're supposedly limited overs specialist?) and he has no potential on his side - he's 30 years of age. (Oh but this isn't relevant to his ODI selection - he's certainly, and rightly, fist picked for our ODI side)

    I simply find it ridiculous that his name is even being mentioned. What does he have over any of Sandhu, Sayers, Cutting, Copeland, Butterworth, Bird, Cummings, Coulter-Nile, Johnson (yes Mitchell bloody Johnson), Mennie, Faulkner and Hilfenhaus, or even Bollinger?

  • Bodders70 on August 8, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    After the last time England gave up 500+ runs due to a selection error (admitted by Andy Flower) I think it was Cook's existence of 'horses for courses' and two spinners in India, despite English instincts never to play two spinners, that led to the series victory. This is slightly different in that Old Trafford is a 'first innings score big' pitch and any attack would've struggled with the way Clark played. However, we've been looking for a sign of 'Cook's' England and maybe more tactical bowling selections rather than pure consistency of selection will start to develop. I'd quite like to see it which would mean Anderson-Onions-Bresnan at Durham where they're more suited, resting Broad and Anderson-Broad-Tremlett at the Oval. If England win at Durham then either Bresnan or Onions could play at the Oval to rest Jimmy, whoever does best at Durham.

  • brusselslion on August 8, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet on (August 7, 2013, 21:39 GMT): Well said. I couldn't agree more. Tremlett's comeback has been well managed by Surrey - a shame that the same can't be said re their management of Meaker - and he has been getting better and stronger as the season progresses. What's the point in holding him back now? He has to prove that he's still got it at Test level now. He's 32 and has 2/3 years at best left. If he is back to his best, then he'll be the best bowler on either side.

    @jonesy2: Welcome back. Yet another holiday, mate? I see that "the world's 2nd best spinner" (Lyon) is living up to your billing!

  • on August 8, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Onions looked pedestrian in the Essex game when I saw him live.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @Mitty2 (from conversation on another thread): Glen McGrath is only 1cm taller than Clint McKay. Are you seriously saying Clint McKay doesn't have the height for test cricket?

    What strange arguments people use to justify/dispel players these days! People (including Boycott) saying Taylor is too short to bat for England; Tait and Pat Cummins are ideal for test cricket because they're very fast; KP and Morgan are better players than anyone else in the Ashes because they can score big and fast...

  • jackthelad on August 8, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    If only to give Anderson and Swann a break, these two should play; Onions is as good a bowler as we have in England on current form, and neither will disgrace themselves. We have the enormous bonus that the result doesn't really matter much to England (though naturally the win is what we want). Sights need to be set on the upcoming Australia leg of this Ashes-fest - key bowlers nurtured and possible subs given an outing.

  • jonesy2 on August 8, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    well if neither of these two can break into englands current bowling lineup that features stuart broad and tim bresnan, who should only justify a place in test cricket if they can bat in the top 6 and average about 50, then they almost certainly wont be able to cut it at test level.

  • on August 8, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    There's another aspect here Mr Dobell - after the unresponsive pitches, hard and unrewarding work undertaken at Lord's and Old Trafford, do any of Anderson, Broad or Bresnan "deserve" to be left out at the one wicket of the series thought to favour seam? Using Anderson as an example, he came into the Lord's test with 317 wickets at 29.69 (SR 57.7) and out of the Old Trafford one with 322 at 29.95 (SR 58.2). Does he deserve to be played only in the hardest test matches with career stats as a result slipping more and more into the average? Likewise Stuart Broad who has bowled very well indeed during this series. Is it fair to him to be sat out after three unrewarding tests of unrelenting excellence where he has gone from 195 wickets at 30.93 (SR 60.5) to 201 at 31.56 (SR 61.7)?

  • venkatesh018 on August 8, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Graham Onions will walk into any major Test nations's XI at this moment. What a waste of talent !

  • vsssarma on August 8, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Splendid and very timely article.

    Amongst the bowlers in the English squad, test match bowling performances of Tremlett have been outstanding (Rating of 85.9). Then they have James Anderson (76.3), Onions (69.8), Swann (69.5), Broad (67.4), Bresnan (55.4).

    The first four should go the next test as bowlers and the fifth one as an all-rounder.

  • GiantScrub on August 8, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    I don't like these picks. Tremlett has looked very ordinary since coming back from injury, so he's in the squad on "potential" - for a 32 year old... I thought only Australia did that.

    Onions just doesn't bowl fast enough. I've never thought express pace is necessary, but from what I've heard he's barely breaking 80mph this year.

    I'd have Finn in as the reserve seamer. He's not as bad as Trent Bridge made him look, and if Durham is as green as people say then he might even cause a few retired hurts when short pitched ones seam off that grass right at the body.

  • vsssarma on August 8, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    In English conditions, Tremlett is found to be very effective. He played 7 test matches, bowled 1,825 balls, conceded 861 runs and took 32 wickets. My computer gave him 85.9 marks for this performance.

    Now Onions in English conditions. He played 6 test matches, bowled 916 balls, conceded 591 runs and took 24 wickets. My computer gave him 69.8 marks for this performance.

    Let us now compare the above performances with James Anderson. He played 49 test matches, bowled 11,050 balls, conceded 5,564 runs and took 206 wickets. My computer gave him 76.3 marks for this performance.

    I feel that Tremlett deserves more test matches.

  • heathrf1974 on August 8, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    They are both good bowlers, especially Tremlett. He was very good during the last Ashes tour to Oz.

  • on August 8, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Both should already be in the side ahead of Bairstow and Bresnan. Both are better bowlers than Broad too. Very surprised to hear Onions is nearly 31. Thought he was more mid-twenties.

  • landl47 on August 8, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    I think Tremlett is made for Australia and the type of wickets they have been producing there over the last couple of years. If he's anywhere close to his 2010/11 form he should be in the squad. I'd also take Finn and Rankin.

    For games in England, though, the test wickets are not likely to suit Tremlett. I wouldn't be opposed to Onions getting a game, he will not let England down and back-to-back tests are very hard work. We don't want to see England bowlers going down with injuries through overwork.

    Both players are whole-hearted and resilient, the kind of characters you want to see in international cricket. However, as the article says, there are no prizes in international cricket for being a good guy. You have to do the business.

  • JamesBlond on August 8, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    I would play Broad if he is bowling well in the nets. This team has done pretty well up until now, and there doesn't seem like any point in changing a winning combination. I think now that he has the 200 monkey off his back, the floodgates could open up a little bit.

    I think that part of the reason that Finn's SR is so good, is that the other 3 bowlers have been so good throughout his career that opposition batsmen try and attack him as the 'weak' bowler.

    I also think that Broad's batting has been outstanding and could be the reason between a draw and a loss. If England bat well, Australia cannot win the game. Would they like to keep Australia to 0 wins on the tour or perhaps let them back in with a sniff of levelling the series?

  • eddiehemmingswobble on August 8, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    I would like to see Tremlett in the team given his bounce and proven track record at troubling Australia. The England bowlers just didn't bang it on the deck as well as the Australians in the last test. Tremlett I believe can add another dimension to England's tiring attack

    Plus with an Ashes tour coming up in the winter it would be nice to give the Aussies something to sweat on ahead of that series

  • Mitty2 on August 7, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    @ohmattymatty, I'm assuming that's a different Lions side to the one who got hammered 7-0 against our A side? Or a different Finn to the one who got dispatched by a number 11 batsman and a 35 year old wicketkeeper? Oh and I forgot, the fact that Boyd Rankin's name is even being mentioned highlights the huge lack of pace reserves England have.

  • njr1330 on August 7, 2013, 22:43 GMT

    I'm hearing rumours that Boyd Rankin is seriously quick at the moment.

  • Owster81 on August 7, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    Finn is the best bowler behind Anderson just had a couple of bad tests. Playing Stokes at no 6 would allow England to use Finn at the right times. Take your pick between Broad or Bresnan for the 3rd Seamer.

  • BRUTALANALYST on August 7, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    Onions has to play here !as Carberry has to in the short stuff afterwards ! will lose all faith in ECB if not !

  • nlight on August 7, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Onions should replace Bresnan at Durham and Tremlett should get the 3rd seamer's spot at the Oval. We've got to give both of them a chance to prove they're worthy of inclusion in the squad to go down under.

  • SirViv1973 on August 7, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    @JG2704, I wouldn't play Tremlett either he has much to prove before any of us can truthfully say he is back to something like his 2011 best. As per my previous I would be happy with Onions instead of Broad here but would probably bring Broad back for the oval & look at who he comes back in for after the next test. It's strange how Rankin seems to have been discarded. He was clearly in the selectors thoughts at the start of the series but Tremlett has overtaken him with just the 1 FC outing against notts where he took a useful but not eye catching 3-77

  • segga-express on August 7, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I watched Onions play in the T20 quarter-final yesterday and he was bowling 83-87mph consistently, aka Anderson's pace. Yes, he was capable of 90mph before the injury but that was an absolute maximum and he was more commonly bowling 83mph so I find the concern over his pace is misplaced. He has definitely become a cannier bowler and has the ability to extract movement from the flattest of roads.

  • on August 7, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    @ CricketCoachDB: "Woakes has never looked anything but woeful in an England shirt? He has the second best ODI bowling figures by an Englishman".

    You would have a point, DB, if Woakes actually had any other decent performances APART FROM that one blip of a game. Otherwise, he's been a medium-pacer who was meat-and-drink to top-quality batsmen. It's laughable that some critics in our media are talking up this county tryer as a potential all-rounder for England. He's so far off international class it's incredible.

  • Nutcutlet on August 7, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    The thing about the Test player of true quality & temperament is that he performs at his best on the largest stage. No matter that Tremlett hasn't taken 50 wickets so far in the season (and Surrey have anyway used him sparingly, so that he isn't overworked), give him the stage & he'll find the extra zip, the vital 3 or 4 mph that can make all the difference. If he can rise to the occasion, he will. Has he still got it? Well, there is only one way to find out & this is something that England will need to know before they set off for Australia. Tremlett & Onions need to play in either or both of the remaining Tests.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    @SamRoy on (August 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT) Possibly unfair too in that Woakes has only played shorter formats for Eng. However I'm not sure he's done as well this season as last with bat or ball

    @SirViv1973 on (August 7, 2013, 20:47 GMT) Yes , I understand your point , but by the same token what has Tremlett done since his return from injury which has shown he's in better form than SF?

  • SirViv1973 on August 7, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    @cricketcoachDB, to be fair his 6-45 in Brisbane is the only real exception. In his other 14 ODIs hes taken 9 W @56.88 with an ER of nearly 6!

  • SirViv1973 on August 7, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    I think Onions is more likely to play here than Tremlett, & given the way the attack looked at OT he probably will. The question is who should he replace? I don't think it will be Anderson there is still a series to win & he is simply too important to leave out before that series is won. I think there are valid reasons for leaving out either Broad or Bresnan but my gut feeling is Broad will probably be the 1 to miss out largely down to having played a game more than Bresnan & therefore probably being more in need of a rest.

  • SirViv1973 on August 7, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    @Bon Wacket, I think a lot of us have been hoping that Woakes could develope in to a bowling allrounder of test stature over the past couple of years. However his performances with the white ball for Eng have been awful this year & although there are plenty who consider him better with the red ball than white, IMO his bowling at test level would just not be penetrative enough. He is a decent batsman but he will never make the test side on that alone. Flower & co would have had a good look at him over the winter in NZL but the truth is he was nowhere near playing in any of the test matches there & is now well down the pecking order.

  • on August 7, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Onions a no brainer , in fact get in big TimT as well , looking toothless at the mo

  • SirViv1973 on August 7, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @Stewart Barnes, Yes Finn's SR is good but he is not bowling well, if he was he would be in the team. In the first test he bowled a pretty good spell with the new ball on the first evening but apart from that everything else he bowled was pretty much rubbish. Since his injury problems during the series in Ind, his form at best can be described as patchy & he probably needs to put in a few decent performances for Middlesex between now & the end of the season to make sure he is on the plane down under.

  • CricketCoachDB on August 7, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    Woakes has never looked anything but woeful in an England shirt? He has the second best ODI bowling figures by an Englishman! http://stats.espncricinfo.com/england/engine/records/bowling/best_figures_innings.html?class=2;id=1;type=team

  • jb633 on August 7, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    I would play Onions in place of Broad in this game and look to rest Jimmy in the 5th test if the series is wrapped up. I have not really been impressed with either of them from what limited cricket I have watched them in. @Richard G- Good point mate, I don't think rushing Tremlett back early will do us any favours in the long run. If the test series is done and dusted by the 5th test I would rest the whole attack and use it as an opportunity to look at some of the guys on the fringes. @SamRoy- I agree too. Woakes has never been anything but woeful in an England shirt and comparing the two is grossly unfair on Onions.

  • AckaBilk on August 7, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Onions will take plenty of wickets on his home ground if he plays, not a shadow of a doubt

  • Rashgul on August 7, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    I don't see Onions playing at all. I think they will stick with Bresnan as Eng always go for the conservative squad. They never take any risks, and it shows. They are a settled side and should win comfortably.

  • anton1234 on August 7, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    Put simply, the best three fast bowlers in the country are Anderson, Tremlett and Finn. Lets not kid ourselves they aren't. Bresnan is bits and pieces bowler and Broad has rode in the wave of succes of Aderson and Swann.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 7, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Neither of these guys would let the side down,and in a perfect world Onions and Tremlett would get a game each on their home grounds. Onions bowls a very straight line and fullish length, enough to exploit any moisture around while Tremlett was compared to McGrath and Ambrose- the highest imaginable praise. ASnd they both have great courage and persistence. But who can you drop to make room for either unless one of the three incumbents falls in a heap. people do not just give away their Test spots. Of the three Anderson has looked the most jaded but anyone mooting resting him around the England setup might expect to be found the morning after with a knife stuck so deep int o the back that a tug of war team might be needed to remove it. I wouid probably leave well alone.

  • on August 7, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    I can't believe Finn is not put above Tremlett and Rankin. Check out his test strike rate about 48 balls per wicket,better than an injury Prone guy and an Irishman? A better strike rate than any bowler in this series,pity the coaches /media messed Him up,he will be back

  • crockit on August 7, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I would play Onions at least resting Broad or Anderson. Historically Broad has done well at the oval and Anderson is likely to like Durham but might be too tired

    For winter to Aus take the 11 that just played plus Onions, Finn, Tremlett, Taylor, Compton and Panesar.

    There are lots of good back up options too e.g. - Rankin, Robson (if he chooses England) Ballance, Bopara, Tredwell and Kerrigan. These guys still have time to challenge for spots

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    When a few of these guys retire, KP, Trott, Bell, Prior, and if England go through a lean patch similar to Australia, I could really see Woakes being an excellent #6/7. The kind of useful Watson should be. Steady, controlled overs whenever needed, and solid lower order runs. I've no doubt Watson bowls so many maidens because there is no reason for him to care about his bowling avg. He just to hold things down while giving the wicket takers a break. Woakes is a better bowler than Watson, and in Test cricket at the moment Don Bradman is more likely to get a big score than Watto.

  • SamRoy on August 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Chris Woakes has always looked a non-international standard bowler every time he has played for England. It is grossly unfair for Onions to be compared to him.

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Bring Tredwell , monty Back..............

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on August 7, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Onions will need some lateral movement to threaten. If the pitch is dead, he is just too slow. Tremlett, Rankin and Finn, however, are a different beast. I would love to have seen the Lions face Australia this Summer, with that attack playing! 100 all out HAHA!

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    Tremlett is good enough a bowler to get another chance after injury come back. He will definitely perform up to the expectation mark. All the best Chris..

  • MarkTaffin on August 7, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Both should play for Broad and Bresnan. Broady looks done in and Bresnan's not as cutting-edge as Onions. Onions ability to bowl and bowl will take the pressure off a tired looking Jimmy.

  • Shan156 on August 7, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Rest Broad and Jimmy, and play both Onions and Tremlett.

  • RichardG on August 7, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    I think we'll be doing Tremlett a favour in holding him back. We've rushed bowlers back from injury too often and caused their bodies and brains to falter - Darren Gough being the main player that springs to mind on this. Tremlett will come in very useful in Australia. At the moment, Australia are scared of him. A couple of iffy performances while he's not fully fit on flat wickets may well deny us that useful psychological advantage this winter.

  • on August 7, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    A fully fit Tremlett is England's first choice bowler

  • on August 7, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    A fully fit Tremlett is England's first choice bowler

  • RichardG on August 7, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    I think we'll be doing Tremlett a favour in holding him back. We've rushed bowlers back from injury too often and caused their bodies and brains to falter - Darren Gough being the main player that springs to mind on this. Tremlett will come in very useful in Australia. At the moment, Australia are scared of him. A couple of iffy performances while he's not fully fit on flat wickets may well deny us that useful psychological advantage this winter.

  • Shan156 on August 7, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Rest Broad and Jimmy, and play both Onions and Tremlett.

  • MarkTaffin on August 7, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Both should play for Broad and Bresnan. Broady looks done in and Bresnan's not as cutting-edge as Onions. Onions ability to bowl and bowl will take the pressure off a tired looking Jimmy.

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    Tremlett is good enough a bowler to get another chance after injury come back. He will definitely perform up to the expectation mark. All the best Chris..

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on August 7, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Onions will need some lateral movement to threaten. If the pitch is dead, he is just too slow. Tremlett, Rankin and Finn, however, are a different beast. I would love to have seen the Lions face Australia this Summer, with that attack playing! 100 all out HAHA!

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Bring Tredwell , monty Back..............

  • SamRoy on August 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Chris Woakes has always looked a non-international standard bowler every time he has played for England. It is grossly unfair for Onions to be compared to him.

  • on August 7, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    When a few of these guys retire, KP, Trott, Bell, Prior, and if England go through a lean patch similar to Australia, I could really see Woakes being an excellent #6/7. The kind of useful Watson should be. Steady, controlled overs whenever needed, and solid lower order runs. I've no doubt Watson bowls so many maidens because there is no reason for him to care about his bowling avg. He just to hold things down while giving the wicket takers a break. Woakes is a better bowler than Watson, and in Test cricket at the moment Don Bradman is more likely to get a big score than Watto.

  • crockit on August 7, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I would play Onions at least resting Broad or Anderson. Historically Broad has done well at the oval and Anderson is likely to like Durham but might be too tired

    For winter to Aus take the 11 that just played plus Onions, Finn, Tremlett, Taylor, Compton and Panesar.

    There are lots of good back up options too e.g. - Rankin, Robson (if he chooses England) Ballance, Bopara, Tredwell and Kerrigan. These guys still have time to challenge for spots