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Alex Tudor - Great Promise

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Born in the Kensington district of London, Alex Tudor came from a family with origins in Barbados and a cricket background. His father was a bus driver who became a gateman at the Oval, the famous cricket stadium, and his older brother was on the playing staff there.

Tudor excelled in cricket at any early age, playing for London Schools from the age of eight. A right-hand fast bowler and batsman, he was selected to England's U15 team that played in South Africa in 1992-93 and for the U17 team that squared off against India in 1994. In 1996-97, Tudor played on the U19 squad that toured Pakistan. In 1995, he made his first-class debut, playing for Surrey at the age of 19. Tudor was impressive but suffered an injury in his fifth game that ended his season prematurely.

Britain hadn't seen such a strong, speedy bowler in some time. Touted by Wisden, the foremost cricket authority, as "an out-and-out speed merchant who can also bat a bit," Tudor used his size (6 foot 5, 195 pounds) and muscular power to execute powerful bowls and tough bounces that left opposing batsmen befuddled. He had a dignified bearing and an excellent attitude, and was

Alex Tudor

eager to learn and progress. Tudor was hailed as a blazing fast bowler with a naturally smooth delivery.

Injuries and problems with his bowling form plagued Tudor in 1996, and he did not make the Surrey squad. But he earned a call-up to practice with the England team before the First Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 1997. Back at Surrey, Tudor again lost his form and was ineffective, and had another disappointing season in 1998. Still, he was selected for the Ashes tour so that he could work with national bowling coach Bob Cottam.

Cottam awas impressed with Tudor's eagerness and no-nonsense approach. His test debut was in the second Test in November 1998 against Australia, and he impressed observers. But Tudor was cut from the squad for the next test, then recalled for the fourth, but could not play because of a hip injury. In the fifth Test, he was healthy and again impressive.

In his first home series, against New Zealand at Edgbaston, Tudor bowled competently but made headlines with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 99. He was named Man of the Match and the Cricket Writers' Club named him Young Cricketer of the Year. "I've always enjoyed my batting," Tudor explained to CricInfo. "When I was younger, I was an all-rounder but I lost it a bit after concentrating on my bowling. I'd love to go as high in the order as possible." His future seemed assured, but a knee injury kept him out of the next Test.

Tudor did not make the Test squad in 2000 but was a late replacement on a tour of Pakistan late in the year. Then, on the A Tour of the West Indies, he took five wickets in his debut in the Busta International Shield in Grenada, the beginning of a good tour. Tudor started the 2001 season with a career-high 116 against Essex, and he made five wickets for the first time in Test cricket in a match at Test Bridge, but overall he had an up-and-down season and was left out of England's winter touring squads.

After a good start for Surrey in 2002, Tudor was back on the England team. In the Third test, he was Man of the Match after taking seven wickets. After making his one-day international debut in the NatWest series, playing in three matches, he got shin splints and was unimpressive for the rest of the season.

Alex Tudor - Battling Back [next]

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