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3rd April 2008

Onions determined for 2008

West Indian Gibson, now England’s bowling coach, claimed 80 LV County Championship wickets as Durham finished second in Division One in 2007 – and was also prolific in one-day cricket.  Competition for places at the Riverside meant Onions was often the odd one out in the bowling selection equation for limited-overs action last summer. But having also proved a resounding success on England Lions’ tour of India, that could now be a thing of the past.

Onions, 25, bagged eight wickets in two Duleep Trophy matches for England’s second string and displayed his threat with the white ball with a seven-wicket haul against a Maharashtra XI in Mumbai.

“It’s good for Durham that there’s a lot of good young seamers coming through,” said Onions.  “In the past couple of years it meant that someone has missed out, and in one-day cricket unfortunately that has often been me.  But I am putting my hand up for it not to be me any more. That’s what I need to do if I want to get into the England set-up. For Durham I want to be the ‘go-to’ man.”

Ottis Gibson took 80 County Championship wickets last season but is now retired But he hopes to use another spell in sub-continental conditions productively; in 2006 he built on a solid pre-season in Mumbai, initially with Durham, and then in club matches – to take 50 first-class wickets in the English season.

“Whenever you get wickets it is always great – and so to come out with good figures in India was brilliant,” said Onions, of his most recent Indian jaunt.  “It was just a shame, as a team, we couldn’t come out with one more match-winning performance.   have been to India five times, and the conditions are generally testing.

“When I went out with Durham in 2006, I asked to stay on – and that was the starting block for me.  I came out with Durham and stayed on for a month, played hard cricket and bowled a lot of overs.  I took 50-odd wickets the next season and I feel as though I have generally progressed since then.  Every time you go on tour you like to think you have improved, and it is important to feel good about yourself.  Right now I feel more consistent, stronger and a genuine wicket-taker as well.”

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