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Onions backs Colly to shine

Injured bowler heaps praise on Durham team-mate

Onions: Expects a focused Collingwood

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Graham Onions has told Sky Sports News Radio that Paul Collingwood's retirement from Test cricket will give a boost to the England limited-overs set-up.

"Paul now can really focus on the shorter format of the game, and I think that's going to be a massive benefit to England without a doubt."

Graham Onions

Quotes of the week

Collingwood has decided to quit the longest form of the game after England secured a first Ashes triumph in Australia for 24 years.

However, the 34-year-old will continue to captain the Twenty20 side and intends to carry on playing in one-day internationals.

And Durham team-mate Onions says that Collingwood will now switch all of his focus towards the shorter forms of the game - something the paceman believes will be a big help to the England camp.

"Obviously he's hung up his boots in the longer format of the game, but in the shorter format - one-day and Twenty20 - he can channel all of his aggression, all of his skills towards that," Onions told Sky Sports News Radio.

Benefit

"Paul now can really focus on the shorter format of the game, and I think that's going to be a massive benefit to England without a doubt."

Collingwood will lead the England team as they play the first of two Twenty20 clashes against Australia on Wednesday.

The main pre-match debate has been over the possible return of Ian Bell, who staked his claim to open the batting with an unbeaten century in a 20-over tour match.

"I think he has to play, really," Onions said of Bell, who last played a T20 international in the summer of 2008.

"There's been a lot of talk about him prior to the Ashes, 'Is he going to be good enough, is he going to get that first hundred (against Australia)?'.

"Since he's been in Australia he's shown exactly how class he is, how good of a player he is and how well he accumulates his runs. For me, he has to play."

Injury

Onions was a part of the England squad that regained the Ashes in 2009 but has been forced to sit out the current tour after undergoing back surgery.

And although he says the recovery is going well, the seamer admits that watching from the sidelines has left him frustrated.

He added: "It has been frustrating but it's obviously great to see England doing so well.

"At the moment all I can say is that everything's going really well. The rehab is going nicely, I'm training hard back home at Durham.

"I'll start bowling hopefully in the middle of February, so fingers crossed everything will go well when I start to bowl."

"Everything is on the way up and I'm just looking forward to the start of the season now - it couldn't come quicker."