Alex Jeremy Tudor
October 23, 1977, Kensington, London
Big Al, Bambi, Tudes
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
St Mark's C of E, Fulham
Alex Tudor has all the natural attributes of a fast bowler: height, strength, and the ability to bowl fast and extract bounce from most wickets. His career has, however, been a series of false dawns and injury. His Test debut came in the 1998-99 Ashes tour (controversially preferred to Andy Caddick who had taken over 100 first-class wickets the previous season), where he chipped in with 18 not out as England were cut down for a paltry 112, and impressed further with the ball. He took 4 for 89 and won praise from the opposition skipper, Mark Taylor. Tudor retained his place for the first Test of the next home series, against New Zealand at Edgbaston. Although his bowling was not of the standard he'd have liked, it was his contribution with the bat that created headlines. He hit an unbeaten 99 as England beat New Zealand by seven wickets. It was the highest-ever score by an English nightwatchman, and helped win him the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year award. But a long period in the wilderness followed, after a knee injury kept him out of the next Test.
Tudor endured a frustrating tour of South Africa that winter, failing to win a Test spot. But career-best figures of 7 for 48 against Lancashire at The Oval and several other impressive performances in 2000 ensured that he stayed under consideration. Yet another injury kept him out of the squad for the Lord's Test against Australia in 2001, but he returned to the side for Trent Bridge. He featured in one of the few passages of the series that England managed to dominate, as after being bowled out for 185 in two sessions on the first day they reduced Australia to 105 for 7 by the close. Although Australia edged into the lead the following day, Tudor finished the innings with 5 for 44, his best Test return to date.
He was initially omitted from England's 2002-03 Ashes squad, although he was later summoned from the Academy as cover for injured players. He was drafted in to play on the hard and fast Perth pitch, where he again impressed, but his game again ended in injury, although this time he wasn't at fault as he was felled by a Brett Lee bouncer.
In 2003 he yet again spent more time on the treatment table than he did playing, managing six outings for Surrey. The situation hardly improved in 2004 when a back problem limited him to 2nd XI games and club cricket for Spencer, where he played as a specialist batsman, and at the end of the season Surrey announced that they were releasing him from his contract, despite the fact that it still had 12 months to run. Essex took the gamble and signed him on a one-year contract - although their decision to link his pay to his performances proved sound as he suffered a knee injury in May and underwent an operation which kept him out for the remainder of the summer. His supporters were heartened by him playing almost a full season in 2006.
However, he continued to blow hot and cold and was released by Essex in August 2008 only to almost immediately return to Surrey for the remainder of the season, doing well enough to earn him a contract for 2009.
Cricinfo staff October 2008
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