England in Pakistan, 2005-06 November 8, 2005

Boycott sees Udal as major asset

Cricinfo staff
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Shaun Udal 'has a good head on his shoulders and knows what he's doing' © Getty Images

Geoff Boycott believes Shaun Udal, the Hampshire off-spinner, could play a key role if selected as the second slow bowler. "If the pitches are going to be dry and slow I'd like to see Shaun play rather than another seamer," Boycott told BBC Sportsweek. "We're struggling for young spinners, he's been around for a while, has a good head on his shoulders and knows what he's doing."

Boycott, who referred to the selection as an "inspired choice", believes that Udal, the 36-year old Hampshire veteran, will be more than useful to Ashley Giles, England's premier spinner."He'll be a good foil for Giles even if it turns a little bit and Pakistan think they've got the edge with two leg-spinners. I think England will do okay there with the two spinners - I think they'll match them."

He was also quick to warn England fans that the seam attack which saw England defeat Australia in the Ashes would be put to the test in conditions not favouring seam. "I don't think everybody's realised the balls are going to be different. They're going to use the Kookaburra which is made in Australia and will not swing as much as the English balls," Boycott said. "I don't think they'll get quite as much swing with the old ball or new ball. Giles will play a much bigger part, he'll bowl left-arm over outside leg-stump and prove to be awkward."

Giles was instrumental in the England XI's win over a Pakistan Patron's XI in the tour opener at Rawalpindi last week, taking 4 for 39 as the side collapsed to 105 all out chasing 158. Udal too made an impression, with a match haul of 5 for 44. However, in the match against Pakistan A being played at Lahore, only Giles has been a success, with 3 for 14 in the first innings.