Way back in September 2010, I wrote this about Graham Onions. Bunny's always been a personal favourite of mine, whether it's for smearing Aussie stumps with fine swing bowling or defiantly blocking out to save games in South Africa. Onions had forced his way into the England side thanks to some excellence at county level, and had just about got himself into England's first choice test eleven. But disaster struck in the form of a back injury that ruled him out for a season just before the Bangladesh tour, and England moved on since then.
It's fair to say that since Onions last donned an England shirt things have changed. First came Steve Finn, who raced to 50 test wickets in the fastest time possible. Then Chris Tremlett, who's international redemption has seen him become one of the most feared fast bowlers in the world. And then Tim Bresnan, who has turned from bits and pieces seamer to a genuine test all-rounder who averages 45 with the bat and 24 with the ball. And while Onions has been out injured, England moved from also-rans to Ashes winners and World Number Ones. He couldn't have picked a worse time to miss, as England had quite clearly moved on from him.
But, they haven't. With the fourth test against India being quite the dead rubber, it seems that Jimmy Anderson's slight niggle won't be risked. So into the squad comes Graham Onions, the forgotten man of England's success.
A similiar sort of situation happened back the last time England were any good - the heady days of the 2005 Ashes. Simon Jones, who'd been a key quarter of England's fearsome fast four broke down in the fourth test at Trent Bridge, with what proved to be a quite serious injury. In the time it had taken for Jones to get back on a field and prove his fitness, England had moved a long way from the Welshman, and he remained just a memory as England floundered in the post-2005 failures.
Luckily for Onions, he hasn't been forgotten, and is back in the squad for the test starting on Thursday. He may or may not get selected, as the pecking order system used probably has Steven Finn still ahead of him, but it shows he is right back on England's radar. At a time when England's fast bowling pool couldn't be stronger, if Onions comes in and seizes the opportunity as Finn, Tremlett and Bresnan have, there could be quite a few headaches for Andy Flower between now and England's next test appointment in the UAE in the new year.