GRAHAM Onions teamed up with his Durham pals again today for the new season – with the three Bs firmly on his mind: babies, benefit and bowling!
The England quick bowler was back in his county’s colours at the Emirates ICG for the club’s photocall and media day.
I hope I can play against the students next Tuesday and then hopefully I will be on the bus for Taunton for our first championship match at Somerset.
And Onions hopes to be ‘working’ in it next Tuesday when the side take on Durham UCCE in their pre-season friendly.
The 32-year-old is all smiles off the field – he has just become a dad for the second time after wife, Emma, had daughter, Esmé, now a month old.
Add to the fact that Durham have awarded him a benefit for 2015 and the seamer is on cloud nine.
Onions, already dad to two-year-old Oliver, could not be happier, apart from the not-so-small matter of wanting to get a cricket ball back in his right hand.
His attempts to make an early mark stalled when he was injured in the annual season opener for the MCC against LV= champions Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi last week.
But he told SportMail that he is keeping his fingers crossed he could be bowling again next week.
After helping bowl Durham to the 2013 county title, last year was wrecked by injury, a long-term back problem being followed by a torn side which saw him miss the climax of the campaign.
Fortunately, his latest injury is unconnected.
“I was a bit disappointed with what happened,” he said. “To get invited to play in this, my aim was to try to perform to prove myself.
“I played in the Twenty 20 game and then I got four overs in the three-day game.
“I strained my groin, just a strain thankfully, not a pull.
“If I had gone on, I’d have made it worse and wrecked the start of the season after all the work I’d put in over the winter to get back to fitness.
“I am hoping this is my injury for this season and that’s it. It’s not ideal what’s happened, but it has.
“I hope I can play against the students next Tuesday and then hopefully I will be on the bus for Taunton for our first championship match at Somerset (a week on Sunday).
“If I don’t play against Durham then it’s going to be hard for me to prove my fitness – I need to show I’ll be able to bowl 25 overs per innings against Somerset.”
It is a big year for the Gateshead lad who not only wants to start taking wickets again for his county but also enjoy a successful benefit.
He said: “I feel very honoured that Durham have granted me a benefit. I’ve watched previous beneficiaries like Harmy, Colly, Gordon Muchall and Gareth Breese and thought ‘I’d love to be in their shoes’.
“I’d like to have some special times with the Durham members and the people who have supported me in my career with my home county.”
For more information go to grahamonionsbenfityear.co.uk
Four charities will also benefit from the series of money-raising events.
COCO: Comrades of Children Overseas, a North East charity which helps impoverished communities in East Africa and Ghana.
SIR Bobby Robson Foundation, which funds projects and research into fighting cancer.
QUEEN Elizabeth Hospital Special care Baby Unit.
PROFESSIONAL cricketers Association Benevolent Fund.