Onions, Finn casualties of Cook's ambition

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How refreshing. A mid-series England squad with as many as three reasonably new faces, although one has to sympathise with the discarded Graham Onions.

How refreshing. A mid-series England squad with as many as three reasonably new faces, although one has to sympathise with the discarded Graham Onions.

Onions publicised his frustrations last month. "I do not get talked about, I do not get mentioned. That is just the way it goes," lamented the seamer – and his latest omission caps a rather frustrating period.

Hauled around as a veritable passenger from one series to the next, and without a Test cap since June 2012, the 30-year-old will have every right to feel aggrieved – but can find some selfish consolation in Steven Finn's exit too.

This is not an England unit resting on their laurels. This is an outfit genuinely determined to thrash the Australians, perhaps earn a historical whitewash, and take the first steps needed to reclaim the coveted number one ranking. Personnel-wise, there is little room for sentiment.

Competition is hard and fast between the bowling ranks, and where Finn didn't make the grade, Tim Bresnan did, and Chris Tremlett might. Tall, quick and in form, Tremlett's selection personifies Alastair Cook's avoidance of a one-dimensional seam attack.

Cook did it in the one-dayers earlier this year, insisting the unique characteristics of the lanky Boyd Rankin had more to offer than, say, James Harris – and now that wise approach has graduated to Test selection.

Taylor's return, through his own doing and that of the team management's forward thinking, is entirely welcome. His one-off appearance for Sussex is an outstanding example of how the England brains trust and county bosses should work together for the greater good of the country's ambition. The player, of course, justified the arrangement to tune of a superb, unbeaten century.

Panesar's recall is all but a 'horses for courses selection'. The mere term might evoke memories of Darren Pattinson, circa 2008, but the spinner has garnered far more respect than the poor seamer did.

Panesar is third only to the late, great Sir Alec Bedser and Jim Laker in Old Trafford's wicket-taking stakes. His successful exploitation of conditions conducive to turn and Joe Root's growth as an off-spinner allows for the temperance of Graeme Swann. It will take a bold decision to rest Swann – he of nine wickets at Lord's – in Manchester, though.

<b>Jonhenry Wilson</b>

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