Apr 24 2008 By Jon Batham, Hounslow Chronicle
Middlesex's veteran new recruit Shaun Udal isn't ready to be pensioned off just yet after all.
Not only is he enjoying an Indian summer to his career after joining the Seaxes, but he's helping Chris Peploe rediscover his touch too.
The ex-England off-spin-ner seemed to have called time on his career when he packed his bags last year after 20 years service with Hampshire.
Consequently, eyebrows were raised when Middlesex head coach Toby Radford talked the 39-year-old out of his self-imposed retirement with the offer of a two-year contract.
But Udal proved one of the few successes of an otherwise disappointing six-wicket defeat in the opening County Championship match of the season against Leicester last week.
Aside from his playing duties, part of Udal's remit is to mentor fellow spinner Peploe, who has become almost the forgotten man of Lord's.
Udal said: "Naturally there is nothing wrong with Chris's action whatsoever.
"He can turn it and he gets bounce, so maybe it's more of a mental blockage or a confidence factor.
"I've helped him with a couple of little things pre-season and I've got no problem with giving him a hand."
Udal, who took 4-14 to win England's test against India in Mumbai in 2006, also claimed four wickets at Leicestershire and top scored with 55 in the second innings as Middlesex took the game into the last hour.
Despite the early reversal, Udal has no regrets about his u-turn.
He said: "I thought retiring at the end of last season with Hampshire was the right thing to do, but I was wrong.
"Middlesex gave me a chance to come and play here at Lord's for a squad that can win not just in four-day cricket, but in oneday cricket as well.
"That was the most important thing, because you want to come and play to win - and with the squad we've got here there's every chance of that."
There was better news for Middlesex in their opening Friends Provident Trophy game on Sunday as they defeated arch-rivals Surrey by 58 runs under the Duckworth Lewis method.
Andrew Strauss paved the way with 163 in their total of 315-6.
Surrey's target was reduced to 307 off 46 overs following a short rain delay, but they were bowled out for 248 from 43 overs.
Gareth Berg took four wickets on his Seaxes debut to help seal victory.
Middlesex's latest County Championship match against Glamorgan began at Lord's yesterday, with Ed Joyce as acting captain in place of the ill Ed Smith.
The skipper's absence meant a rare first XI opportunity for Eion Morgan.