While England’s recent second Test win over New Zealand was, in the end, rather routine, there were still several points of debate, particularly as the rain fell on the fifth day. While the obvious question was ‘what the fuck are England doing?’, we had another one, inspired by the highlights shown during said rain break. These highlights were of a remarkable England victory over New Zealand from all the way back in 1999, a victory which owed much to a superb second innings knock from a player who looked every bit the Test batsman. There were classy back foot drives, crunching pull shots and general disbelief from the crowd. Of course it was a complete flash in the plan. While everyone remembers this innings, no-one we asked could remember anything else he’d ever done. We are, as the title of this article clearly gives away, talking about
The innings that everyone remembers Alex Tudor for came at Edgbaston, in the first Test of a series that England famously went on to lose 2-1, sinking to the bottom of the Test rankings in the process. After an eventful first two days, with the first three innings of the game already completed, England were left to chase 208 to win. Alec Stewart lasted all of three balls before Tudor strode to the crease as nightwatchman. Two balls later, play was called off for the day.
The next morning, Tudor set off like a man possessed, presumably by the ghost of some great batsman past. His innings that day was simply amazing. We could try and describe it but we’re far too lazy so here’s the highlights, straight off YouTube courtesy of robelinda2, provider of about 90% of all cricket videos on the internet:
Bob Willis sums it up best with his first comment: wowee. Anything that makes Bob happy makes us happy.
But if we take that one innings out of the equation, what else did Alex Tudor actually do? We put this question to the 51allout bunker and nobody had an answer. Did he ever make any runs again? Or take any wickets? Did he even play many games?
Luckily for us, Google is great for finding this sort of thing out. His ten Test appearances spanned almost exactly four years. Why so sparse? Well, the word ‘injury’ being used five times in his Cricinfo profile is something of a giveaway. He took 28 wickets at a perfectly reasonable 34.39, with a single five wicket haul against Australia at Trent Bridge, but finished with a batting average just above 19, scant reward for such obvious talent.
Some more interesting things we also found out about Tudor: he once conceded 38 runs in a single over, falling victim to a combination of a fired up Andrew Flintoff and several no-balls. He also once had his face destroyed by Brett Lee. Seriously, this clip isn’t for the faint hearted: the crunching noise alone is the stuff of nightmares, let alone the rolling around in agony bit.
As if to just rub it in, following this incident it was revealed that Tudor was actually short-sighted. Quite why it took him playing a Brett Lee short ball with his face before anyone realised this is anyone’s guess.
Much as we like to criticise and generally take the piss, there wasn’t really much wrong with Alex Tudor, other than him being made out of biscuits (see also Jones, Simon). His bowling clearly had massive potential – Mark Taylor was quick to praise Tudor, back when what he said actually mattered – but unfortunately those damn injuries prevented it ever being fulfilled. Tudor eventually retired in 2009, presumably to spend his days contemplating the Test hundred that could have been, was Graeme Thorpe not such a greedy bastard.