Durham delight at new four-year deal for Onions

Graham Onions has signed a new four-year contract for Durham and fellow paceman Ruel Brathwaite has committed himself for two more years.

Onions was the one Durham bowler to take 50 County Championship wickets this season after returning in the second game following surgery on the back problem which kept him out of action for 15 months.

Brathwaite, who joined Durham at the end of last season on a one-year contract, topped the bowling averages after taking 22 wickets in six appearances.

Onions said: “After missing last season I am delighted with the way this season has gone. I have had an amazing amount of support from my team-mates and the backroom staff and am really pleased to sign a new contract with the club I love.”

Coach Geoff Cook said: “It’s been great to watch Graham getting back to his best. He has contributed massively to the team, demonstrating just how determined he is to deliver the standard of bowling which took him on to the world stage.

“Ruel has been a great addition to the squad and continues to impress me with his eagerness to keep moving forward.”

Despite releasing batsmen Kyle Coetzer and Ben Harmison, with seamer Mark Davies expected to follow shortly, Cook does not expect to make any new signings.

“With Paul Collingwood coming on board we are very close to the salary cap,” he said. “Onions, Collingwood and Steve Harmison are towards the top end of the scale for county cricketers. I think we’re OK for batsmen and we’ll be giving Scott Borthwick the chance to move up the order when the opportunity arises.”

Ben Stokes’ finger problem means that he is unlikely to advance his England career this winter, so he should be available to Durham at the start of next season.

“The ECB medical people are trying to work out the best way forward for him,” said Cook. “He was in some discomfort in the one-day internationals he played and he hasn’t been able to bowl since he suffered the injury at the end of May.”

Durham are expected to announce soon that Dale Benkenstein has extended his contract. He has one year left on his current deal and will continue to work on his coaching qualifications this winter. But after an outstanding season his priority is to continue playing as long as possible.

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