DURHAM’S Graeme Onions deserves a shot in the 2013 Ashes line-up – that is the verdict of ex-England skipper Michael Vaughan.
But the man who captained his country to a famous victory that saw the famous urn recaptured in 2005 admits the seamer looks likely to miss out.
There’s no doubt in Vaughan’s mind that Onions has what it takes to be an Ashes success, but an embarrassment of riches in the bowling department will mean Onions is overlooked.
“He’s unlucky not to have played more of a part in the England team over the last two years,” said Vaughan.
“England are very fortunate to have the depth of bowling they have at their disposal at the minute.
“The captain, Alastair Cook, will make a tricky decision over the next two weeks of what his final XI is.
“There are going to be three seamers missing out that warrant an Ashes place.
“England have a closet full of excellent fast bowlers, and Onions is right up there with the best of them.
“Personally, I think Steven Finn will be the third seamer, because he played pretty well in the last game against New Zealand.
“So I think the bowling line-up will be Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, Finn and Graeme Swann.”
Whoever lines up for England, Vaughan believes that their job just got a little bit harder.
The ex-skipper was one of many not to give the Aussies any chance of Ashes success after a winter of turmoil.
And while his money remains on the hosts, he believes the tourists chance have been considerably improved by the appointment of Darren Lehmann, who he played under at Yorkshire, as head coach.
“I didn’t think they had much of a chance with Mickey Arthur (sacked earlier this week), to be honest.
“I like Mickey, he’s a good bloke, but it was quite clear that it just wasn’t working.
“Darren Lehmann will just get them in the dressing room, and say ‘right lads what the hell is going on,’ and ‘let’s turn it around’.
“They haven’t got the players they used to have but you can get quite far with a group of players, who are really fighting for one another.”
Vaughan was speaking at benefit match for Durham and England ace Steve Harmison yesterday. He led an England XI, including Harmison and Andrew Flintoff against a Durham side led by Paul Collingwood.
Flintoff was in superb form with the bat, smashing 88 from 45 balls, with six sixes and eight fours, while Harmison had the chance to win the clash with six needed off the final ball.
Sadly, there was no fairytale ending, and in the end, Durham’s score on 177 proved to be enough for Collingwood’s men.
And while a benefit match probably wasn’t the best to judge the Dynamos’ T20 chances on (their campaign starts at home to Lancashire Lightning tomorrow, 5.30pm), Vaughan believes they will give a good account of themselves.
He added: “I’ve not seen a great deal of them, to be honest, but they are a decent side who have some very good players.
“It’s going to be tough competition, and it’s one where you never know what could happen, but I’m sure they will be giving it a real good go.”
H The first three days of the fourth Ashes Test at the Emirates ICG have been sold out.