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Onions wants slice of the action

NatWest Series
Graham Onions

Graham Onions trains with England © Getty Images

Seamer Graham Onions is determined to grab his opportunity after joining up with England's one-day squad ahead of the third match of the NatWest Series at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday.

The Durham man, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Saturday, was drafted into England's squad to face Pakistan following the withdrawal of Darren Gough with a stress fracture of his left shin.

Onions claimed 2-38 in Sunday's NatWest Pro40 defeat to Warwickshire at Edgbaston and was named in the provisional 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy recently.

"It's unbelievable really," confessed Onions, who is often rested for one-day games to preserve his strength for Durham's first-class matches.

"If someone had said at the start of the season that I'd be representing my country I would have laughed at them, but it's a great opportunity for me.

Graham Onions

Graham Onions is fresh and ready © Getty Images

"I've always been desperate to play for my country and I've put a lot of hard work in the winter and it's paid off now - I didn't think I'd get here as quickly as I have but it's a great opportunity."

England are trailing 1-0 but Onions may be just the player to impose himself on the five-match tournament despite his relative lack of experience.

"It's been very hard," conceded Onions, who has also claimed 51 first class wickets this summer.

"This is my first real full season with Durham and I've had limited opportunities.

"We've got Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett and other good, experienced bowlers at Durham and I think I've done well to play as many championship games as I have so one-day cricket is still a bit of a learning process.

"Durham want me to play the whole season and they have been very concerned about burn-out, but I'm delighted to be here and I'm a little bit overwhelmed by it."

He will approach his opportunity still fresh from the rigours of the county summer with only nine limited overs matches to his credit so far.

Graham Onions / Darren Maddy

Graham Onions seen here claiming the wicket of Leicestershire's Darren Maddy © Getty Images

"The English season is very hard and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get tired every now and then, but that's understandable," he said.

"You bowl a lot of overs and play a lot of games and play against some very good players. Every time you get the ball in your hand you've got to be able to bowl at your best - it's no good playing every game in the first two months of the season and then getting burnt out for the rest of it."

Onions, a county badminton player as a youngster, will also continue a successful production line at Durham, who have also provided Steve Harmison, Paul Collingwood and Liam Plunkett for England in recent years.

He also has some experience of the England set-up already having been a net bowler during the winter in Mumbai, where he had been sent by Durham to work on his bowling after Christmas.

Lancashire's Sajid Mahmood will probably vie with Onions for a starting slot alongside Jon Lewis, the pick of England's attack during Saturday's seven-wicket defeat at Lord's after claiming 2-11 from his eight overs.