Cult Heroes: Alex Tudor
Born: 23 October 1977, Kensington, London
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm fast
Teams: Surrey 1995-2005 & 2008-2009; Essex 2005-2008
Alex Tudor hurtled onto the cricket scene at a young age, his pace bowling marking him out as a player of promise. In a career that spanned 13 years, he took over 350 first-class wickets and played ten times for England. The London-born bowler was handed his first-class debut by Surrey in 1995 as the Oval based outfit looked to claim their first Championship triumph since 1971.
Tudor became a regular part of the star-studded Surrey squad and his progress was recognised by the NBC Denis Compton Award, not once, but twice, for the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
It was soon after collecting the 1998 award that Tudor received the call from the England selection committee announcing he was part of the Ashes squad, and even celebrated his 21st birthday on the flight to Australia. He made a respectable 18 not out and dismissed five Aussies in the second Test, on a Perth ground that suited his fast-paced deliveries.
After praise was thrown his direction from winning Ashes skipper Mark Taylor, Tudor went into the next Test against the Black Caps brimming with confidence. It showed too, as he wowed the Edgbaston crowd with 99 not out – the highest score from an English nightwatchman. Individual awards continued to flow, this time adding the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year award to his repertoire in 1999.
The following year saw Tudor turn his attentions to county rather than country, much to Surrey’s delight. Impressive performances with bat and ball led Surrey to back-to-back Championship success. It was during the first innings against Lancashire that saw Tudor’s standout performance, taking 7 wickets from 48 balls. He also contributed 35 to Surrey’s total, which saw them run out winners by 272 runs.
A familiar wicket in Perth was the venue for Tudor to prove to England selectors that he should have been in the squad by default and not due to injuries. Sadly, it was injury that ended his tour, leaving the game on a stretcher.
Injuries continued to hamper Tudor’s progress and his stint at Surrey came to an end after nine years. Released from his contract, Tudor was snapped up by Essex. He played a large part in their 2006 County Championship promotion bid, which they missed out on, on the last day of the season. Essex successfully defended their National League title, which was rebranded Pro40 that year.
He left Essex two years later and was offered the chance to end his career where it all started, when Surrey manager Chris Adams brought him back to the Oval. After leaving Surrey, Tudor has set up his own coaching company, aiming at giving the young community a chance to learn all about cricket. He’s never looked back since: “I'm quite young at heart. I just enjoy seeing them with smiles on their faces, playing the game I love. If they go away learning something new from something I've taught, that gives me more fulfilment than a five-wicket haul or any runs I've got."