I've always liked Graham Onions. Maybe it's the funny name. Maybe it's the fact that he looks a lot like Mark Watson, a comedian I like. Maybe it's because I'm partial to Geordie accents. Maybe it's his defiant blocking batting. More likely it's because I like his swing bowling.
Back a few years ago I also liked Simon Jones. He too had a fun accent (Welsh). He too ripped through the Aussies with lethal swing.
Sadly, just like Onions, Jones was rather injury prone.
Life for a fast bowler has it's ups and downs, and as Iain O'Brien told me in one of my podcasts, injuries are never too far away. Simon Jones picked up a knee injury in the fourth 2005 Ashes test. There was a race against time to get him fit for the fifth test, a week later. Jones hasn't played for England since. Other than this year for Hampshire, Jones hasn't played with any real regularity since that heady win at Trent Bridge.
Onions got injured in training out in Bangladesh ahead of the tests. His injury was also first thought to be minor, but it soon became obvious that wasn't to be the case.
Like Jones in the intervening years since 2005, Onions has set himself targets of getting back playing. He's missed all of those targets. And today the news was announced that he's having a back operation which rules him out for 9 months. Officially ruling him out of an Ashes tour he still held increasingly faint hopes of making.
When Jones first got injured, people started to fill in for him, but as time went on, made the position their own. Onions' third seamer position went to Steven Finn, who appears to have it nailed down for the foreseeable future. He's seemingly slipped down the pecking order behind Bresnan and Shahzad.
Like Jones, Onions could well recover from his serious injury to play at a good level. However, like Jones, the cut throat nature of international cricket means Onions may have played his last for England. This makes me sad. You could say that Onions is making me cry.