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Middlesex lure Udal out of retirement

Shaun Udal, the former England and Hampshire offspinner, has come out of retirement to sign a two-year deal with Middlesex.

Udal, 38, quit first-class cricket at the end of last season, saying he "wanted to go out on a high as a decent player, instead of being a player who did not deserve his place on the staff". In a shock turnaround, however, Middlesex have snapped him up on a two-year contract which means he could be playing county cricket in his 41st year.

"I'm delighted to be given this unexpected opportunity to extend my playing career at Middlesex and am very excited at the thought of playing for another two years," Udal told Middlesex's website. "Retirement, in hindsight, was the wrong choice for me and, due to John Emburey and Middlesex's persistence, I've been given a great chance to continue doing something I love and prove to people that I am still one of the best at what I do.

"I'd like to thank Middlesex for backing me and look forward to the next two years with great enthusiasm. The squad is very strong and I see no reason why we can't win something next season."

Udal made his Test debut aged 36, against Pakistan at Multan in 2005. And although he spun England to a memorable win in Mumbai against India the following year, that was his final international match.

"We are very fortunate to have gained the services of Udal," Emburey, Middlesex's director of cricket, said. "Shaun's experience, knowledge and match-winning capabilities will complement a very determined Middlesex team in 2008."