Test Match Sofa
Durham sensitive to potential Giles-Onions issue
By Tim Wellock
Durham, 25 points adrift of safety at the foot of Division One of the County Championship, will have every reason to query Ashley Giles’s involvement if Graham Onions is again left out of the England side for the third Test against the West Indies.
Onions was named in the England squad today and will therefore be absent from the Durham side for this week's Championship match at home to leaders Warwickshire, whose director of cricket, Giles, is an England selector.
Durham coach Geoff Cook declined to become involved in any argument, but did concede that Giles wearing his two hats “is a matter of some debate within the game”. He added: “I wouldn’t want to question Ashley’s integrity. He’s a good coach and he’s been a great cricketer for England.”
Durham’s two-wicket defeat by Lancashire in the final over on Saturday was an injustice for Onions, who had career-best match figures of 11 for 95 a month after his first ten-wicket match haul at Lord’s.
Despite missing the game at Taunton while kicking his heels with England, he has 34 wickets this season and only Nottinghamshire’s Andre Adams is ahead of him.
“Good luck to him if he’s in the next Test,” said Cook. “He’s been the absolute backbone of our bowling but if he gets picked for England the other guys have got to come up to the plate.”
The extent of Durham’s malaise was underlined by the fact that they emerged from the Lancashire match with minus one point. Having four points deducted for their slow over rate is unprecedented. In the whole of the last six seasons, since their promotion to Division One, their total deductions have amounted to three points.
In that time the highest total number of points lost in any season by the eight teams, other than for poor pitches, has been four. Yet Durham have equalled that in one go.
They are supposed to bowl 16 overs an hour, but in the first hour of Lancashire’s first innings they bowled 13. With Ian Blackwell (back) and Gareth Breese (calf) injured, their only spinner is Scott Borthwick, who has lost form following his involvement with England squads.
Although he was in the team, they couldn’t gamble on bowling him because of the conditions and the state of the match against Lancashire.
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