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.
The 30-year-old played the last of his nine Tests, against the West Indies, over a year ago but has been included in England's 13-man squad for the fourth Test of a five-match series starting at Durham's headquarters on Friday.
Fast bowler Chris Tremlett has also been selected alongwith Onions, with all 11 players who took the field at Old Trafford included as England look for a series victory
England's 13-man squad contains two rivals for Steven Finn's third seamer place in Tim Bresnan, a better batsman, and Graham Onions, renowned for his accuracy.
Says the reason to have five seamers including Graham Onions was to give every available option to the captain and coach. Adds that preparations ahead of the first Test is adequate.
As expected, Nick Compton was left out of the squad after England national selector Geoff Miller had preciously said Joe Root would be promoted to open the innings, something the 22-year-old does for Yorkshire but has yet to do at Test level, alongside captain Alastair Cook.
Durham's Graham Onions, looking to break into England's settled seam attack, pressed his case with three wickets for no runs on the way to a return of four for 43 as Essex lost five for 11 either side of tea.
England's top order failed to cope with the new ball and the tourists were reeling at four for 67 after just 18 overs, with Nick Compton out for one and Kevin Pietersen managing just eight after his first innings total of 14.
In all probability, Steven Finn will not be featuring for England in the first Test match at Ahmedabad. This will open the window for one of Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions if England decide to play three seamers.
Graham Onions' chances of playing in the first Test against South Africa receded further on Wednesday when he was unable to train on the eve of the match at the Oval because of a hamstring strain.