Onions - It's been tough
England seamer keeping his feet on the ground after lengthy lay-off
By Rob Lancaster. Last Updated: 15/04/11 8:56pm
Onions: back with a bang after over a year out of action
Graham Onions admitted a five-wicket haul was just a "bonus" after enjoying a spectacular return to action for Durham.
The England seamer's career had at one stage been in jeopardy due to a serious back injury that had ruled him out since January of last year.
However the 28-year-old made up for lost time in the LV County Championship clash with Yorkshire at Headingley, claiming 5-51 as the Tykes were bowled out for 149 on day two.
Onions - who was named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year for 2009 - said afterwards it was just a relief just to be back playing again.
"It feels fantastic," he told Sky Sports News HD. "It's been a long, long time.
"I can be a bit of a grumpy man at times on the field, as every fast bowler can be, but to get five wickets and contribute Durham is absolutely fantastic."
Graham Onions Quotes of the week
"I have to thank a lot of people - the surgeon, all the backroom staff at the ECB and, obviously, all the backroom staff at Durham - because they have got me in a position where I can stand here today.
"I feel good, I feel quite strong and to get five wickets is a bonus.
"It's been tough - whenever you have back surgery, or any kind of surgery, it's important that you have to rehab well.
"Throughout the rehab stages I've doubted myself, but today has a put massive smile on my face.
"I can be a bit of a grumpy man at times on the field, as every fast bowler can be, but to get five wickets and contribute for Durham is absolutely fantastic."
Onions did not take long to make an impact in his comeback match, removing Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth with just his second delivery.
He added: "The actual day didn't start too well as I chipped one to mid-off having said I was going to block out as many balls as I could.
"But when you've been out of the game for so long all you want to do is play and take wickets, so to get one in your first over is fantastic really, I was absolutely delighted."
Onions played in eight Tests for England before his injury and was part of the squad that regained the Ashes on home soil two years ago.
His performances for Durham this season will no doubt be closely monitored by the national selectors, though the player himself is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
"For me, to play for England would be absolutely fantastic. That is what I want to do," the Gateshead-born bowler admitted.
"When I played in the eight Test matches I did I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think I did some quite good things.
"But I appreciate that this is my first game back and that I only bowled 15 overs. This was a massive step in my rehab.
"It's a great feeling to think I'm not too far away from being back to my normal self."