Shaun Udal, the former England offspinner, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. Udal, who represented Hampshire for nearly 20 seasons, was given a guard of honour by his team-mates after the side's Pro40 match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Udal, 38, said he made the correct decision, taking into account his value to the side. "I 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," Udal told the Gazette News. "My final game was very emotional, but I feel I have made the right decision."
He was out of contract at the end of this season, but had previously hinted that he would consider playing on if Hampshire offered him another deal. However, with Shane Warne a permanent fixture in the side, after his international retirement, Udal has played only five Championship matches in 2007. The club are also keen to push forward the development of Liam Dawson, a left-arm spinner, who has played for England Under-19.
Udal played four Tests and 11 one-dayers for England. Though he made his ODI debut in 1994, during England's home series against South Africa, he had to wait 11 years to get a call-up to the Test side. He played his first Test at the age of 36, against Pakistan in Multan as the lone spinner following an injury to left-arm spinner Ashley Giles.
However, he is best remembered for bowling England to victory in the third and final Test against India in Mumbai the following year. His figures of 4 for 14 sparked India's collapse in the fourth innings and the win helped England square the series. But that was his last international match.