Jimmy Anderson backs Lancashire CCC team-mate Graham Onions to keep taking wickets

Graham Onions is closing in on 700 first-class career wickets
Graham Onions is closing in on 700 first-class career wickets

The fact that Graham Onions is not quite the old man of Lancashire’s bowling attack is making Jimmy Anderson’s eyes water.

“I still can’t believe I’m older than him,” smiles Anderson before talking in a more serious tone about the immense value his fellow 36-year-old has brought to Lancashire since joining from Durham in September 2017.

“I think he’s the one who looks a lot older.”

Onions, only a couple of months younger than Anderson, is closing in on 700 career first-class wickets.

He is nine short at present with two more Specsavers County Championship fixtures scheduled before a reunion with home county Durham at Sedbergh School at the end of the month.

“Bunny’s a quality performer and a quality professional,” said Anderson, who was rested for this week’s rain-affected draw with Leicestershire at Liverpool after Onions had sat out last week’s draw with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.

“He sets a great example to the younger lads around the group and has been a really good signing so far. I’m sure he will prove to be a great one come the end of the season.

“He looks after himself, takes care of his body and is fit.

“He’s lucky that he’s got a really repeatable action and rarely bowls bad balls.

“His pace is still decent. We’re absolutely delighted to have him.”

Onions, however, has played down the importance of reaching the 700-mark.

“I think stats, when you finish your career, are things you look at more,” he said.

“I have a rough idea of where I am stats-wise, but I don’t check after every single game.

“If you do that, you put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

“I probably did that when I was a young kid, and it probably made me bowl a bit wider to try and bowl maidens or even made me search for wickets.

“I decided as I got older not to think like that.”

Division Two leaders Lancashire face back-to-back away games during the next fortnight, starting with Worcestershire at New Road on Monday.

The Red Rose beat the Pears heavily at Emirates Old Trafford last month, so are going for the double against a team who were slated as pre-season favourites for a top-three finish and promotion.

Worcester did not play this week, while Lancashire have won three and draw two, they have won two and lost two of their first four matches.