LANCASHIRE fast bowler Graham Onions has announced his retirement from professional cricket after a 16-year career.

The 37-year-old has been advised to stop playing professional sport on medical grounds after suffering a back injury prior to the opening Bob Willis Trophy fixture of the season against Leicestershire.

Onions, who is widely regarded as a modern day legend of county cricket, joined Lancashire at the end of the 2017 season and has been a regular in First-Class cricket over the last two seasons.

In that time he amassed 104 First-Class scalps for the Red Rose, coming in just 23 matches at an average of only 20.73. He has five five-wicket hauls under his belt Lancashire, with a best of 6/55 against Nottinghamshire in May 2018.

Capped nine times at Test level, the Gateshead-born seamer took 32 wickets and also made four One-Day International appearances.

He earned a place on the Lord’s honours board by taking 5-38 on debut against the West Indies in 2009 and was an Ashes winner in the same year. Those performances saw him named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2010.

His legacy will remain putting home county Durham on the cricketing map, featuring as a central part of their side during the glory years in which they won three County Championships in six years.

Shortly before leaving for Lancashire, Onions became the Durham’s all-time leading wicket-taker in First-Class cricket and finished with 527 scalps for the North East outfit.

“This is not the way I wanted to bow out of the game, but I have to listen to the medical staff and have come to terms with the fact I am protecting my health and wellbeing in future years," said Onions.

“I gave absolutely everything I could and finish with no regrets. From being part of an Ashes-winning England team to becoming Durham’s leading First-Class wicket-taker, I have achieved more than I could have dreamed of when I first started out.

“One of the proudest moments of my career was getting capped by Lancashire and I hope I have worn the Red Rose with the pride and determination expected of the Members. I appreciate all of the considerable support you have shown to me."