ONYON TASTES LIFE ON INTERNATIONAL STAGE
Dismissing Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff on the same day would look good on the CV of any Test match performer, let alone that of an aspiring young bowler.
But it is precisely what Lincolnshire player Aaron Onyon achieved during a net session with the England cricket squad.
The 18-year-old seamer, who plays for ECB Premier League side Lindum and Nottinghamshire Academy, helped England and Sri Lanka prepare for last month’s Test at Trent Bridge.
Onyon and his academy team-mates were asked to bowl at the likes of Marcus Trescothick and Sanath Jayasuriya – claiming several notable scalps along the way.
As well as bowling Pietersen and Flintoff, the teenager, from Fiskerton, also accounted for Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, plus England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.
“I bowled Pietersen middle stump,” said Onyon.
“It was a fantastic experience and showed me what it takes to get to that level.
“If you bowl a bad ball, you get punished every time. In club cricket you can get away with it.
“It was hard work because we bowled from 10am to 6pm, with only a short break in the middle.
“The players were really trying because, when they got out, that was it – they had to wait for their turn again.
“They looked frustrated to get out to an academy bowler, but they were really good with us and gave us some pointers.
“We also warmed up with them – and they were great. They made us all feel really welcome.”
Onyon also bowled at legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
“That was fun,” he added. “He just tried to smash everything and I really struggled to get him out.
“He said he wanted to have a bowl at me, but we didn’t have time.”
Onyon’s stint with the England squad completed an eventful couple of weeks for the county junior.
At the end of May he was called up to train with the England Under-19 squad at the National Cricket Academy in Loughborough.
Onyon did his chances of a further call-up no harm by taking a wicket and conceding just seven runs in four overs during a practise match.
In fact, his toughest assignment of the day was enduring an ice bath.
“I’d never had one before, so it was quite a shock,” he said.
“We had to have a hot shower, jump in the ice bath for a minute and repeat that five times.
“It’s done to help repair the muscles and prevent cramp.
“That’s good for me because I do suffer a lot with cramp.
“Overall, it was a really good experience. I’ve spoken to the under-19 coach, John Abrahams, since and he said I could be involved again next year.
“I’m only 18 at the moment, so I would still be young enough to be involved in the set-up.”
Onyon now turns his attention back to his Nottinghamshire Academy commitments and a one-day game against the touring New South Wales Under-19s on Monday