Onions stakes his claim
Graham Onions is grooving his game with the England Performance Programme squad in Loughborough after struggling to hold down a place for Durham this season.
Onions, who played 11 LV County Championship matches and a handful of one-day games in 2007, was fighting for a bowling spot alongside Liam Plunkett, Steve Harmison and new England bowling coach Ottis Gibson in the Durham line-up.
However, that did not prevent him playing for the England Lions against the touring India side and gaining his second-call up to what was previously the National Academy.
“I think I deserved it,” Onions told ecb.co.uk. "I think I did very well with England A.
“Obviously with the likes of Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett being in the team, it is actually going to be quite hard to get in the side.
“But I like to think that I am good enough to play for Durham if I am good enough to play for England A.”
With Gibson announcing his retirement to take up the consultant role with England, Onions realises that a space has opened up in the Durham line-up, and he is doing everything in his power to make sure he claims it next season.
“Obviously being part of the academy is a good achievement,” he agreed. “I always feel when I am in this place that I am going to improve.
“Having all the facilities and coaches, I like to think I am moving my game up and moving forward.”
Onions is also aware of what he needs to do to improve.
“Last year I didn’t know what to expect, but this year I know what I need to work on. It is very individualised.
“I have been trying to just generally hit a good length. It sounds quite simple, but I think I varied a little bit in length last year and that has been my downfall.
“Hitting a good length on the wicket - on any wicket - like Glenn McGrath, would be great for me.”
This is Onions’ second time at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, and he is determined to make use of everyone and everything while he is there.
“I tend to spend a good half an hour to 45 minutes with Kevin Shine,” he admitted. “I will do my own thing, and then being a lower-order batter I have got to fit my practice in at a certain time.
“I will stay behind, or whatever. You have got to do whatever you have to do to get the best out of the facilities.”
The 25-year-old is leaving nothing to chance, after having a taste of international recognition in 2006 when he was called up to the NatWest Series squad to replace Darren Gough.
“Obviously working at the academy, the goal is to play for England and improve your game to play for England in the future,” he said.
“Whether that is going to come in a year, or I might be saying again next year ‘hopefully in another year’, you never know.
“I’ve just got to do as much as I possibly can. It is up to the individual to get the most out of it.
“All I can do is train my hardest, get myself fit and strong and bowl as well as I can. Then, if the call-up comes, that will be great.”