Cricket fans adore statistics. For most of you, the sport itself is just a convenient means of generating data. Numbers are your true love.
Here are some.
- Gary Ballance (Yorkshire) – 1,251
- Wayne Madsen (Derbyshire) – 1,221
- Sam Robson (Middlesex) – 1,180
Best batting averages (at least 10 innings)
- Ed Joyce (Sussex) – 65.76
- Gary Ballance – 62.55
- Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) – 58.18
- Graham Onions (Durham) – 70
- Steve Magoffin (Sussex) – 63
- Tim Murtagh (Middlesex) – 60
Best bowling averages (at least 20 wickets)
- Graham Onions – 18.45
- Ryan Sidebottom (Yorkshire) – 20.30
- Tim Murtagh – 20.40
And a nod to Usman Arshad of Durham for his 16 wickets at 15.56 as well.
Ballance was the only batsman to hit five hundreds; Nottinghamshire’s Michael Lumb managed four. Graham Onions was the only bowler to take five five-fors; Ollie Raynor and Chris Jordan both managed four.
The more metrics you consider, the more the season appears to revolve around just two men. The other names may change, but Graham Onions and Gary Ballance appear on every list.
England’s Ashes squad now makes both more and less sense.
Delicious and versatile. Oh wait, upper-case ‘O’. Let’s start again.
Graham Onions is the England bowler everyone rates, but not enough that he’s ever the person they think should play. His qualities are low-octane and harder to see. There’s always a taller bowler or a faster bowler who’s more eye-catching. He doesn’t even swing the ball much.
Graham Onions basically does two things: (1) absolutely nothing wrong and (2) he bowls at the stumps. His excellence lies in doing these things over a prolonged period of time. He bowls more balls that batsmen have to play that might possibly get them out, but probably won’t. This doesn’t sound like much, but the accumulation of possiblys almost always results in wickets.
If Steven Finn cannot play the fourth Test – and it seems likely this will be the case – we would therefore rather England selected Graham Onions as the second seam bowler. Tim Bresnan is the other option, but we (perhaps unfairly) feel that we’ve already seen enough of him in India to know that he would take no wickets and serve no purpose as a bowler.
We feel for Bresnan at the minute. He seems to have lost pace following elbow surgery. No-one made much of it during the summer, because he took a few wickets. Medium-pacers can do that in England in May, but against South Africa and India he has seemed as pointless as the balls of dough he looks like he should be making.
We hope Bresnan regains the weight in his ball. Until then, there’s only ek Piaza. (Apologies, Indian readers, if that’s complete gibberish.)
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We believe this photo provides a window into the future, even though it was actually taken in the past. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what it is, but basically most of the people in it look like dads.
Matt Prior is comfortably successful, middle-aged spread dad. Ian Bell is his son.
Stuart Broad is with his dad, Graham Onions. Graham has had a mid-life crisis and therefore always wears a leather jacket, even when it is manifestly inappropriate to do so.
Jimmy Anderson is looking awkward and holding a pashmina shawl for his wife while she catches up with her friends. He doesn’t really know what to do with himself, so he just stands there.
Alastair Cook is the weirdest of all. He is sleazy lothario dad. He wears lurid shirts to complement his permatan and he always leaves a couple of buttons undone.
It’s very easy to blank out the finer details of sportsmen’s injuries. Getting knee-knack and gammy-hammy are occupational hazards, so we tend to only really take in the word ‘injured’ before wondering who’ll replace the player in question.
But Graham Onions had spinal surgery. Think about that. Someone tore a ruddy great hole in his body and buggered about with his spine. They drilled a titanium pin into it and then stitched him back up again.
Now here’s the worst part: Graham Onions knows this. When he runs into bowl, somewhere in the back of his mind, he is vaguely aware that his vertebrae have been tinkered with. That’s liable to inhibit your movements.
Onions is over the worst of it now though. His surgery’s a memory, his back’s still intact and he’s getting stuck into all the evil bodily contortions necessitated by fast bowling.
But fast bowlers are quickly forgotten and there was a very real chance Onions would never play for England again. Others performed well in his absence and there was no guarantee he’d bowl well, even if he managed to return at all. Now, thanks to ‘rotation’ and stacks of wickets, he’s potentially in line for another Test match. We’ll be very happy for him if he plays.
After being clean bowled for a golden duck and then seeing his first ball carted for four, Graham Onions didn’t immediately knock Test cricket sideways with his brilliance.
A bit later, after three wickets in an over and 5-38, things looked a bit better.
Have England found a great new Test bowler or have they further muddied selectorial waters which are arguably just damp soil?
Onions dismissed four of the West Indies’ last five batsmen and we can’t quite see what he offers that no-one else does. He’s quickish, like pretty much all of England’s bowlers; he’s not tall; and he doesn’t swing the ball much.
Not that he’s a bad bowler by any means and not that you can’t succeed in Test cricket with that sort of a bowling armoury. We just have a concern that here’s another name that’s been added to the debate about who England’s best bowlers are, meaning England aren’t closer to finding the right bowling attack, they’re further away.
Maybe he’s new coach Andy Flower’s inspired selection who’ll be around for years, but we’d far prefer it if there were something more obvious than that.
Graham Onions was called into the England squad today and he’s celebrated in fine style.
It’s been debated whether runs scored at Taunton count as much, being as the pitch is famously so generous to batsmen. If that’s the case, what are wickets worth? Presumably more.
We’ve also argued that Taunton could be perceived as a good ground on which to rate potential Test players as Test pitches are generally more batsman-friendly than county ones. This applies to bowlers even more than batsmen. Get wickets here and you can get wickets on most pitches.
Durham made 543 in their current match against Somerset, so it’s reasonable to assume that the pitch is typically Tauntonian. In reply, Somerset were absolutely levelled by Graham Onions. All out for 69 with Onions dismissing five of the top seven on the way to 6-31.
There is no way that is a bad bowling performance. We’re not fully convinced that Onions is the best Durham bowler, but this kind of thing definitely helps.
We’re not going to let ourself get drawn into any Onions jokes, but we will ask this: has anyone ever met another Onions?