Events take a turn to give seal of approval for 36-year-old newcomer
Udal is the surprise selection of England's pre-Christmas tour. At 36 he can hardly be looked upon as a youngster with a bright future, but he has been the best English-born spinner in county cricket this summer.
Udal acted as Hampshire's stand-in captain while Shane Warne was on Ashes duty, and he had the honour of leading the county to Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy glory at Lord's two weeks ago.
"I am absolutely thrilled," Udal said after hearing of his selection. "You hope that the selectors go on a player's form in county cricket, because that is the only way most of us can prove that we are good enough to play for England.
"My form in county cricket over the last few years has been excellent, and it is nice to know that the selectors do look at county cricket and pick the guys that are in form. It gives everybody in county cricket hope, even those of us who are 36."
The presence of Warne and the seamer-friendly nature of the Rose Bowl pitch meant that Udal did not feature in many of Hampshire's early-season Championship matches.
He more than made up for the absence of Warne, taking 27 wickets in the five games the Australian leg-spinner missed. And it was these performances, along with his ability to bat, that earned him recognition ahead of Gareth Batty, Graeme Swann and Min Patel.
This will not be Udal's first overseas trip with England. The off-spinning all-rounder toured Australia in 1994/95 but Phil Tufnell kept him out of the Test side, and his appearances for England were restricted to one-day internationals.
"I was beginning to wonder whether I would ever get another chance," he said. "However, one of my strengths is that I have always believed I have been a good enough cricketer. I am a better cricketer now than I was 10 years ago. I now have the nous and the know-how to do a job in whatever capacity I am needed."
David Graveney, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman of selectors, defended the decision to pick a veteran ahead of a youngster. "Udal is a guy who has been involved in county cricket for a long time," he said. "Spinners can play at that sort of age and statistics will show that Udal is by far the performance bowler at the present time, which is why we want him to go."
The guard has changed at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. Meanwhile, down the road, the ...
by The Sports Lawyer
21 May 2013 10:01 PM
With the top nine players in the men’s world tennis rankings all missing this tournament to prepare ...
by Gareth Purnell
21 May 2013 02:01 AM
When cyclists look back on their careers spanning many hundreds (and in some cases possibly thousand...
by Martin Ayres
20 May 2013 06:12 PM
Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
Manchester City begin to rebuild and rebrand for future
Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
Arsenal considering options as Fiorentina continue to hold-out on Stevan Jovetic
Sam Wallace: As he leaves Real Madrid, make no mistake - Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea will only end in tears
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.