Durham seamer Graham Onions is hoping for a winter Ashes call-up to add to the euphoria of winning the LV County Championship title.
Onions, who featured in England’s home series win in 2009 but has only won nine Test caps, took 66 wickets at an average of 17.68 to help his county wrap up the domestic title with a game to spare.
And he will be eagerly anticipating today’s announcement of England’s tour party for the trip to Australia. “That would be a dream, it would be fantastic,” he said after the Championship was clinched with victory over Nottinghamshire.
“I still feel I’ve got a part to play and could potentially force my way into the England side. But it’s not easy. I’ve not played a great deal of cricket for England.”
England’s selectors must balance method with invention in the Ashes squad they will unveil this lunchtime at Lord’s.
As the 17 likely to be named set out to make their own history – a fourth successive Ashes success was a prize last claimed in the 19th century – those who nominate them need go back only as far as England’s last trip Down Under to know what will be required.
Tough calls had to be made mid-series before England won in Australia for the first time in almost a quarter of a century – and to be able to do so, then and now, the right manpower must be on hand. At least nine of those who travelled to Australia last time, and have since played their part again this summer in retaining the Ashes, are sure to go again – including Tim Bresnan, who will get the opportunity to prove his fitness after a stress fracture in his back.
Joe Root can be confidently added to account for all but one of the probable XI for the first Test. The uncertainty over Bresnan means an extra seamer is non-negotiable and Boyd Rankin stands at the top of the queue, while both Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are thought skilful enough to be able to bolster bowling and batting resources.
Possible England Ashes squad: AN Cook (Captain), JE Root, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, BA Stokes, MJ Prior (wkt), TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, JC Buttler (wkt), WB Rankin, JC Tredwell, NRD Compton, ST Finn, CR Woakes.