Cricket fans shocked by Udal's inclusion in trip to Pakistan
Just a week after the Ashes was won back by England for the first time since 1987, the selectors are getting ready to send their hero's off on yet another adventure—this time in Pakistan.
As expected, the selectors stuck with the 12 men who won back the Ashes at The Oval, but the rest of the 17-man-squad left many devoted cricket followers scratching their heads in confusion. The likes of Alex Loudon and Matt Prior, whose form has been decent over the recent months in country cricket, fully deserve their calls up, but the selection of 36-year old-Shaun Udal is beyond many.
The room went quiet at the mention of his name during the announcement of the team yesterday. Not only is the English spinner 36 years of age, but he has not been featured in the English cricket set-up since the Ashes Tour of 1994-1995 which saw them thrashed out of sight by the rampant Aussies.
For 11 long years, Udal has been in the international wilderness, but with the good wishes of head selector, David Graveney. Udal has taken just 36 wickets in his 10 outings on the county circuit this season, but seems to be the man of the hour for the tour to Pakistan where the wickets will be specially catered to spin bowling.
It is hard to imagine that anybody out there was more surprised than Udal himself when he received the call from the selectors. The Hampshire captain was looking forward to a winter filled with rain interrupted matches and little else, but now has a fairly good chance of playing a match or two on tour. If England's number-one spinner, Ashley Giles. has injury problems, he may well face the prospect of playing test cricket for England more than a decade after his last outing.
Australian spinning legend Shane Warne has shown that age in the international game is not always a bad thing and has achieved some of the best bowling feats of his career in the latter stages of his career. Maybe fate will deal another good hand and Udal will help England to yet another historic test series win?