Udal rightly proud of his long innings

Middlesex and former Hampshire off-spinner Shaun Udal has retired from first-class cricket to bring an end to an illustrious career that spanned 22 seasons.

The decision also concludes Udal’s three-year association with Middlesex, whom he captained for just over a year until June 2010.

Udal, 41, a wily bowler and lusty late-order batsman, and known universally in cricket as ‘Shaggy’ after his alleged resemblance to the Scooby Doo cartoon character, won four England Test caps and played in 11 one-day internationals.

Picking up the wicket of ‘the Little Master’, Sachin Tendulkar, during his spell of four for 14 on England’s 2005-06 tour of India proved his finest hour and helped the tourists to square the series.

Commenting on his decision to call time on his playing days, Udal said: “I am extremely lucky to have played the game I love for such a long period. Cricket has been extremely good to me and I have enjoyed every moment I have spent in the game.

“I have played with and against some great cricketers and characters, and treasure the moments I spent playing with and competing against these men.

“I have many good friends in cricket and hope to continue to enjoy their company. It is obviously a sad day – waving goodbye to something very special is always difficult – but I look forward to getting stuck in to the next chapter of my life.”

Having initially retired in 2007 after winning four trophies in 19 seasons with Hampshire, Udal was lured back into the game by Middlesex’s then head coach, John Emburey.

The decision brought immediate reward as Middlesex won the 2008 Twenty20 Cup, beating Kent in a tense finish at the Rose Bowl.

In 301 first-class games Udal took 822 wickets at an average of 32.47 and claimed 1,330 wickets in all forms of the game. Added to that, he scored more than 11,000 runs in all formats at an average of just over 20.

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