Graham Onions has spoken of his delight at being able to return to Lancashire following his appointment as full-time bowling coach.
Lancashire announced the ex-England pace bowler’s return to Old Trafford on Monday following his retirement from the game last summer.
“I love this club, I’ve not been here that long, but I feel as though it’s a second home and I feel like I belong to the red rose,” Onions said.
“I’m desperate to win more silverware and also develop some of these young lads from the academy to be professional cricketers.”
Speaking on his appointment, Onions admitted feeling relief at quickly securing a full-time role back in the sport following a tricky period coming to terms with his retirement and the COVID pandemic.
“There’s been a few rough weeks since my retirement, but this week has been great getting back into the swing of it and I’m just delighted.
“I can now get over the harsh reality and tough times of thinking I’m not going to play again when I wasn’t really quite ready to give it up, instead I can put it towards coaching, and I’m ready for the new challenges.”
The 38-year-old played nine tests and four ODIs for England between 2009 and 2012 winning the ’09 Ashes series, along with multiple County Championship successes while at Durham.
After joining Lancashire in a playing capacity ahead of the 2018 season, Onions settled in quickly, taking 104 wickets in just two seasons before medical advice following a back injury forced his hand in accelerating the move into coaching.
“When I walked into training on Monday, still the first thing I wanted to do was get the ball in my hand and have a bowl it’s just natural.
“Obviously I can’t do that now but what I can do is take the positives of the news of being a coach full-time and plough all my energy into still being part of a team.”
But the north-east native, a self-confessed hard worker and holder of an ECB Level four coaching qualification, feels he is prepared to give his all in the new position.
“In a strange way I’ve planned for this over the last three or four years, ever since I left Durham, that coaching’s what I want to do.
“The way I am as a person and the dedication I give towards everything that I do, that’s from a cricket and a coaching point of view – I throw everything at it and give the best I possibly can.”
And as Onions transitions from player to coach, hopes that the relationships forged with the players as a teammate, can also prove to be beneficial off the field.
“My philosophy and coaching style is very much getting to know the players and letting them know that I’m here and they can ring me any time.
“But they’ve got to understand that there are decisions to make, honest conversations to be had and I don’t see it as a bad thing, having that open relationship where you can talk to them, they know it’s from a good place.”
Lancashire are set to begin their 2021 campaign away to Sussex on 8 April, and while Onions gets reacquainted with the surroundings, he is already seeing a squad chomping at the bit.
He said: “Me coming out of the playing setup gives an opportunity for someone to come in and I think all the young lads will be fighting for that spot to get in the first team.
“We’ve got a good crop that are fighting to take those spots and be in that squad, prove to me, hold their hand up and say I’m the man.”