Cricket: England to investigate Tudor's injury fiasco

Surrey pleading innocence over `secret' scan that put their bowler out of Test.
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The Independent Online
ENGLAND YESTERDAY ordered an investigation into the Alex Tudor injury fiasco after being left angry and embarrassed over the whole sorry mess. It transpired that England, while aware that Tudor was suffering from a niggling knee injury, had no idea that his employers, Surrey, had booked him in for a scan on Wednesday afternoon - the day before the second Test began at Lord's - when the England players had been given the afternoon off from practice.

The first the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, knew about the problem was when Tudor returned to the team hotel in the evening and revealed that following his scan a specialist had advised him to rest. Two questions would have flashed across Graveney's mind at that point: What specialist? What scan?

And yet if Paul Sheldon, the Surrey chief executive, is to be believed, England should have been aware of Tudor's situation. Speaking from his holiday cottage in the West Country, Sheldon is reported as saying: "There has been no breakdown in communications between Surrey and England as far as we are concerned. They were kept informed of his [Tudor's] niggle and I am surprised they did not know he was going to have a scan on Wednesday afternoon.

"But it is as well he did go. The appointment was arranged to make sure that there was no real problem. As it turned out, the scan showed there was something which needs dealing with."

However, that is not how England view it, and yesterday Surrey were ordered to send in a report detailing their side of the farce and explaining how and why the England management were not told.

Simon Pack, the international teams director for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), had discussions with the Surrey coach, Keith Medlycott, yesterday. As a result Surrey said they would be providing the ECB with a detailed report by the middle of next week. One of the questions they will have to answer will be why did Tudor, or better still someone in authority at the club, not inform them of the scan. If the ECB then feels punitive action is called for against the county (highly unlikely according to ECB sources) they could (although it is improbable) withhold the pounds 2,475 compensation that Surrey would ordinarily receive for Tudor being on Test duty - the payment, which is 75 per cent of a player's match fee, is made to every county for each player called up.

Medlycott declined to say whether England had been informed, but he explained yesterday: "We made the appointment to reassure him [Tudor] that the situation was all right, but it revealed a potential problem and he needs time to recover. He will be really struggling for the NatWest Trophy quarter-final at Northampton next Wednesday."

The farce had seen one player, Angus Fraser of Middlesex, forced to make a 400-mile round trip by car from Somerset to cover for any further injuries in the pre-match warm-up to a squad reduced to 11 by Tudor's injury - a wasted cover drive as it turned out.

If England had known of the scan, even as late as last Sunday when Tudor was telephoned by Graveney to say he had been picked in a squad of 12, then England could have called up a 13th player.

To say that England were left fuming is an understatement.