Cricket: Tudor returns to rank and file

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ALEX TUDOR gave himself a lot to live up to with his spectacular efforts in the first Test last week. Today the focus will be on his performance with both bat and ball in the NatWest Trophy fourth-round tie against Worcestershire at New Road.

Though he was picked for his bowling, Tudor's 99 not out against New Zealand led to a standing ovation in Sunday's CGU National League match at Derby, and the Surrey coach, Keith Medlycott, said: "We've had high expectations of Alex. He had a taste of big matches in Australia in the winter. Everyone knew he could play there and what he did at Edgbaston has just reiterated it.

"He can blow a little hot and cold, and we are working hard with him to make certain he keeps producing the goods with the bat."

One of Tudor's main rivals with the ball will be Worcestershire's Graeme Hick, who was not required at Edgbaston but is still one of the country's best one-day batsmen. Worcestershire were knocked out last year by Scotland, who Surrey beat in the last round, but the men from The Oval have not matched their outstanding championship form in one-day games.

While Tudor made a name for himself in the Test victory, Yorkshire's Chris Silverwood missed out after being omitted on the first morning. His chance will surely come, and his pace has increased dramatically since last summer - as Leicestershire may well discover in the tie at Headingley.

Leicestershire will be without the fast bowler James Ormrod because of a side strain, but they hope Mike Kasprowicz will play despite a leg injury.

Glamorgan have not beaten a first-class county for five weeks, so facing Warwickshire at Sophia Gardens is an unenviable task. Four years ago the same opposition beat them by eight wickets by mid-afternoon of the semi- final.

"It was a bitter pill to swallow," said Glamorgan's captain Matthew Maynard. "This is a crucial match for us."

Hampshire's captain Robin Smith will make a late decision on whether to play an extra batsman to counter Lancashire's Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan at Southampton. Smith must judge if Matthew Keech or Kevan Evans is the man to face the holders, who beat them in the semi- final last summer.

Sussex must face Somerset at Hove without the all-rounder Robin Martin- Jenkins, who has fractured his right index finger, while the opener Richard Montgomerie is recovering from a broken bone in his left foot.

Kent meet the Netherlands at full strength, but their captain Matthew Fleming has warned his side not to underestimate the Dutch, especially their key all-rounder, Feiko Kloppenburg.

Derbyshire, last season's beaten finalists, have injury problems before their meeting with Gloucestershire. Dominic Cork is out, while Phil DeFreitas misses out because of a hamstring injury. Gloucestershire will be looking to Ian Harvey to continue his one-day form.

Northamptonshire went out at the first hurdle against Gloucestershire last season, but captain Matthew Hayden has the form to make a difference in their game against Nottinghamshire at Northampton.

Like Tudor, the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper Chris Read will walk out with his reputation enhanced following his eight victims on his Test debut.

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