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Onions keen to bag England chance

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Graham Onions

Graham Onions basks in the glow of his England call-up for the opening npower Test against West Indies next week

Graham Onions admitted he had an extra spring in his step after learning of his inclusion in the England squad for next week's first npower Test against West Indies at Lord's.

The Durham seamer was named in the 12-strong party and is pushing to make his England debut at Lord’s after several seasons on the fringes of selection.

The 26-year-old was involved in England’s one-day squad for the NatWest series against Pakistan in 2006 without playing a game, and was named in the provisional squad for that year’s Champions Trophy, but again missed the cut and spent the winter touring with England A in Bangladesh.

Onions featured in the Lions squad at the end of 2007 but was overlooked for last winter’s Lions tours of New Zealand and South Africa.

“I found out at half past seven this morning from Mr Miller (national selector Geoff Miller), so I was very, very pleased,” Onions told ecb.co.uk.

“I had to be a little bit quiet because the alarm hadn’t gone off yet and I’m rooming with Phil Mustard, so I didn’t want to wake him up. I was very, very excited - a little bit of a spring in my step really.”

Onions is currently in Taunton on LV= County Championship duty against Somerset and it is his wickets this season which have caught the eye of England’s selectors, particularly a haul of 5-56 against Yorkshire last week which included the prize scalp of former England captain Michael Vaughan.

“I knew I bowled well last week against Yorkshire and James Whitaker, one of the selectors, was there and was very pleased with the way I bowled,” added Onions.

“Yorkshire last week had a very strong team and I was thinking if you do well against these players, they’re world-class players... Every time you turn up you’ve got to do your best and perform to the best of your ability.

Graham Onions

Graham Onions was in England's one-day squad in 2006 but did not play a game. He hopes to make his Test bow at Lord's

“Last week was great for myself to get five wickets and Michael Vaughan, and some people that were watching have had a big say in the selection.

“In a way I hadn’t been involved with any of the squads and hadn’t had any phone calls from anyone at the ECB, so to be honest I didn’t really expect it, but it’s always very, very nice to get the call.

“It was disappointing I didn’t get picked in the Lions after being on a couple of tours and doing quite well, but, saying that, I’ve now been named in an England squad.”

While Onions admits he would have ideally been involved with England or the Lions over the winter, he is adamant that the spell away from cricket has raised his game.

“I pretty much had the winter off bowling-wise,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in the gym, just trying to get strong, and then I think the break from playing actually did me a bit of a favour.

“It refreshed my mind and the stuff I did in the gym made me mentally strong and feel good about myself, so that was hard work in itself, even though I didn’t actually bowl a lot of overs.”

England’s two-Test series against West Indies is followed by the Ashes series against Australia later this summer, and Onions admits it is a big incentive to grab his chance at the Home of Cricket next week.

“I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground a little bit,” Onions continued. “To play in the Ashes would be absolutely brilliant but at the moment we’ve got the Test series coming up against the West Indies which I’ve been selected in, so my aim at the moment is to try and impress when I go to train with the England boys and get selected.

“Fingers crossed everything will go my way and I’ll get the opportunity to play at Lord’s.”

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