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Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 10:03 UK

Udal backs youth for Hants clash

Shaun Udal
Udal has plenty to ponder ahead of Saturday's Rose Bowl quarter-final

Middlesex captain Shaun Udal is confident that his young players will perform in Saturday's Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final with Hampshire.

Udal will have to face his old county without England trio Andrew Strauss, Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan, while Phil Hughes has returned to Australia.

But Udal told BBC London 94.9: "The beauty of youth is they've got no fear.

"Our batting line-up in the Twenty20 last year was packed with youngsters and we won the competition."

Former England spinner Udal, 40, spent nearly 20 years as a Hampshire player before announcing his retirement, only for Middlesex to offer him a contract for 2008.

But, on his latest return to The Rose Bowl, having only scraped in thanks to luckless Warwickshire's ill fortune with the weather at Edgbaston, Udal takes a weakened team in mixed Trophy form.

They were twice bowled out cheaply in the group games, for 133 by Kent at Southgate, then for just 65 by Somerset at Bath a day later, one of the lowest scores in their one-day history.

Why can't we go there and beat Hampshire? We did it last year in the Twenty20. There's no reason why we can't go there and do it again

Shaun Udal

But, in the return against Somerset at Lord's a fortnight later, they piled up their highest-ever one-day score, 341-7. And that was just a week after hitting another big total, 322-5 against Kent at Canterbury.

Morgan hit 161 against Somerset, while Hughes (119) and Shah (82) were the main contributors against Kent.

An, although they will be missed, the absence of Middlesex's top names offers a chance to 19-year-old Sydney-born Sam Robson or 20-year-old Adam London.

On the bowling side, Tim Murtagh is still out with a hamstring injury, meaning that young seamers Danny Evans and Steven Finn could both play. But Udal is confident that the younger players can fill the gaps.

"We've sat down and tried to run through the squad we may have on Saturday," he said. "And there's some exciting talent.

"It gives somebody else an opportunity. The likes of the Robsons and Londons of this world could possibly get a go.

"But, why can't we go there and beat Hampshire? We did it last year in the Twenty20.

"There's no reason why we can't go there and do it again.

"We can go anywhere. We've proved that this year.

"We went to Kent, who were in the final of the Friends Provident and the Twenty20 last year, and got 322 against them.

"We got 341 against Somerset, who haven't lost a game all season in the Friends Provident, and with a young batting line-up, so there's absolutely nothing to be fearful of and no need to be worried about anything.

"We'll be nice and confident and hoping to put on a nice show on Saturday."



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