GRAHAM Onions is determined to make a flying start to the county season as he looks to enhance his chances of securing a dream Ashes outing at his home ground.
The Durham seamer, last year’s leading wicket-taker in LV= County Championship Division One, toured India and New Zealand with England over the winter but missed out on Test action.
With home and away meetings with Australia looming large on the horizon, including a maiden Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street in August, Onions is understandably eager to force his way into Andy Flower’s side.
A repeat of the form he showed at domestic level throughout 2012 would therefore represent a significant boost.
Speaking at Durham’s pre-season media day, Onions said: “For me personally, the first month (of the county season) is going to be a big one.
“I’ve played one Test here against West Indies, my second Test match, and that was fantastic.
“To put an England shirt on anywhere in the world is great, but to potentially have a chance - it’s kind of in my hands - to play an Ashes Test on your home ground (would be even better).
“It would be great to walk down the steps and take some wickets and beat the Aussies. That’s the goal, but if you look too far ahead that can be quite dangerous. It’s a little bit of a dream in the future.”
Durham play a three-day match against Durham MCCU from Friday before kicking off their championship campaign next week with a home game against Somerset.
Onions insists he is ready to spring out of the traps, despite his relative lack of action since last September.
“I’ve carried a lot of drinks over the last few months, so it’s slightly different from my point of view to the (other Durham) lads,” he acknowledged.
“They haven’t netted outside and of course I’ve been frustrated because I’ve been doing a lot of netting and haven’t played a lot of cricket.
“You just have to try and prepare as well as you can and do everything that you can to perform to the best of your ability.
“I look towards Durham’s games coming up as important ones for myself. I feel pretty confident; I’m raring to go; I feel fit and strong, and it’s just a case of getting that ball in your hand in English conditions - we know it’s going to be cold – and dealing with that.”