Onions: "This squad is the best I've played with."
Graham Onions talks about the upcoming 2018 season with Lancashire
Graham Onions knows a thing or two about title-winning sides in the Specsavers County Championship and is confident Lancashire have what it takes to improve on last year’s second-place finish.
Onions, the 35-year-old former England seamer, won three in his time with home county Durham - in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
But this winter, he made the switch from Emirates Riverside to Emirates Old Trafford on a two-year contract and reckons there is every chance of a fourth career medal being secured.
“The strength in this squad is by far the best I’ve played with, for the volume of players,” he said ahead of Friday’s home opener against Division One new boys Nottinghamshire.
“Durham, when they won the Championship for a couple of years, literally had eleven players that were unbelievable. Here, it’s 24 or whatever.
“And there’s a lot of players who will be disappointed if they’re not playing on Friday.”
Despite all he has done in the game, taking 621 first-class wickets with 32 of those in Tests for England, Onions admits he could be one of those disappointed players.
“It would be foolish of me to think I’m just going to start (on Friday). But that makes you train and work harder,” he continued.
“No one knows what the team is going to be. You do everything you can to get into that and then do well.
“I’m 35-years-old, so I’m coming towards the end, but one of my goals is that I want to win a trophy, ideally a Championship, over the next couple of years. Then I can retire happy.”
The hunger and desire for success still burns brightly, that was clear to see from one of county cricket’s best bowlers over of the last decade or so when he spoke at the Red Rose’s annual pre-season media day today (Wednesday).
“If I lose that hunger, I don’t think I’d play any more if I’m honest, whoever I play for,” he said.
“At the start of each season, you want to stay fit and play as many games as possible, bowl your overs, put match-winning performances in and win trophies.
“That was my goal every year at Durham. It’s exactly the same here, although different because I’m at a different club.”
“My time at Durham was unbelievable, and I can’t thank them enough. They gave me an opportunity to be a professional and fulfil dreams of playing for England.
“But I’m very stubborn, and I want to prove myself against the best all the time. For me, not playing international cricket, that’s first division cricket.
“I still feel I’m good enough to do that.”
A factor in Onions’ move to the North West was the offer of some coaching work, and he has been helping the club’s Academy squad this winter as well as passing on knowledge to his fellow first-team bowlers.
However, he added: “My role for now is to take wickets and win matches for Lancs.”
Coach Glen Chapple, meanwhile, has confirmed that Keaton Jennings, their other winter recruit from Durham, will open the batting with Haseeb Hameed and wicketkeeper Alex Davies will drop down to number three in the order.
Overseas seamer Joe Mennie is also set for his county debut having arrived from South Australia. He will be with Lancashire until early September.
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