Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Onions Vital to Ashes Ambitions; Pace Ace Has Big Role, Says Gough - Even If He Doesn't Play

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Onions Vital to Ashes Ambitions; Pace Ace Has Big Role, Says Gough - Even If He Doesn't Play

Article excerpt

DARREN GOUGH thinks Graham Onions will play an important part in England retaining the Ashes this summer - even if it is just by taking wickets for Durham.

The Gateshead fast bowler will be desperate to feature in a massive year for the Three Lions - and especially when Australia come to Chester-le-Street for August's fourth Test.

Gough thinks just knowing Onions is breathing down their necks will inspire England's bowlers to perform better.

The former pace ace exclusively told the Chronicle: "The good thing with Graham Onions is he'll put the other people under pressure.

"Jimmy Anderson didn't have a great tour of New Zealand - he bowled OK, but not at his best - but he's outstanding in English conditions.

"I expect he'll get his 300th Test wicket for England in the first hour of the first Test against New Zealand, and that will fill him with confidence when he does.

"Stuart Broad's getting his game together, and he and Steven Finn will probably get the first crack at it.

"But there will be Onions, Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett all waiting in the wings if anyone doesn't come up to the mark."

And Gough believes Onions, who played three Tests when England last won the Ashes on home soil in 2009, is a genuine contender to face the old enemy.

Despite missing a couple of games through international call-ups, Onions was the leading wickettaker in last season's County Championship First Division with 64.

"Graham Onions is a fantastic bowler," said a man who took 229 Test wickets, including England's only Ashes hat-trick since the 19th Century.

"When I faced him I'm sure I must have had a flashing light on my head, the number of times the ball went in that direction!

"He's a top bowler, skiddy and he bowls a good length.

"County cricket has got stronger and stronger since I started playing it in 1989. The two divisions have made a real difference.

"You see the same players taking wickets and scoring runs each year because the cream rises to the top."

Gough was speaking to promote Last Man Stands, the world's widest-reaching amateur cricket league. …

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