Durham coach Geoff Cook wishes Graham Onions had his luck
Geoff Cook, who suffered a heart attack in June, was in no doubt that Onions, who will hope to be included in the England squad due to be announced Monday for the return Ashes series in Australia, deserved further Test recognition.
Durham coach Geoff Cook said he wished Graham Onions could enjoy some of the luck that had come his way as the seamer remained on the fringes of the England set-up despite starring for the county champions.
Northeast county Durham secured their third County Championship title in six years on Thursday after a victory at home to Nottinghamshire left them in an unassailable position at the top of the table with a round of matches left.
The 31-year-old Onions, one of several home grown talents nurtured by Cook, Durham's captain when they made their debut as a first-class county in 1992, has been a key figure this season with 67 first-class wickets at a miserly average of just over 18 apiece.
Yet he has been unable to add to his tally of nine Test caps, with England retaining the Ashes courtesy of a 3-0 series win over Australia without him.
A career-threatening back injury checked Onions' progress but his lack of England caps can also be explained by the fact he has been a contemporary of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan, with the likes of Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett vying for inclusion in what has often been a four-man attack where Graeme Swann is the lone specialist spinner.
Cook, who suffered a heart attack in June, was in no doubt that Onions, who will hope to be included in the England squad due to be announced Monday for the return Ashes series in Australia, deserved further Test recognition.
"If I was in the right place at the right time 21 years ago, I think Graham is in the right place at the wrong time," Cook said.
"He's a quality bowler but England seem to have some quality bowlers. World cricket arguably isn't of a high standard and England are winning Test matches because of it so it's difficult to break into that team," added the 61-year-old, who himself played seven Tests as a batsman for England in the early 1980s.
"The selectors are very consistent in their selection, consistent in getting Graham involved in the top four or five bowlers, and he's unlucky in that he's consistently fourth or fifth.
"To his credit, he comes back to Durham disappointed, not disillusioned but determined to roll his sleeves up and produce the goods for us again -- which is our gain.
"He's hugely respected around the country as a top-class bowler."