Australian fast bowler, Shaun Tait, has announced his retirement from Twenty20 cricket, saying that at the age of 28 he can no longer subject his body to the punishing two-over spells demanded of him.
“I’ve never really been the biggest fan of cricket and I just don’t know that it’s worth putting my body at risk for the game any more. I think the longer formats – Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20s – are probably just a bit too much for me at my time of life, so I’ve made this decision to prolong my Super Over career.”
Tait has recently signed a deal with the Madurai Ultrasultans to compete in next season’s Super Over Super League, a five-over a side competition in which he would only have to bowl six balls in a match – plus the inevitable wides.
Shaun Tait is unquestionably a fast bowler – probably the fastest around at the moment. You can tell because batsmen regularly ‘make room’ to play him – they’re getting their bodies out of the way, not freeing their arms.
A Shaun Tait delivery was clocked at 100mph at Lord’s in a one-day match against England. Did anyone catch what the other bowlers were bowling so that we know how seriously to take this measurement?
On Cricinfo’s Hawkeye tool, Tait’s fastest delivery for that match is recorded as being 97mph. Being as James Anderson’s is down as 95.4mph, we can probably knock that down to about 92mph, but how reliable are Cricinfo’s measurements? How reliable are one-day speed guns?
Shaun Tait clean-bowled three of England’s top four batsmen. That’s as good a measurement as any.
When we suggested that Australia’s current one-day team wasn’t its strongest, people took this as making excuses on their behalf. We’re not a naysayer when it comes to this England one-day side. We’re just pleading for perspective.
For example, when Shaun Tait didn’t play, England lost 12 wickets in two matches. When he did, they lost 29 in three. It seems a lot of people find it easy to get carried away when England win a couple of matches.
Similarly, the talk of whether Craig Kieswetter should be promoted to the Test team is quiet at the minute. The flipside of building him up as the figurehead of ‘brave new England’ is that scores of 38, 8, 0, 12 and 11 take on symbolic importance. If he represents England’s ‘brand’ of cricket (and that word’s apposite because the English one-day revolution is in no small part a marketing exercise) then when he fails, so does the brand of cricket he represents.
But 3-2 against Australia is always a good result. England are unquestionably a better one-day team than they were, but they were pretty dreadful – they are probably no better than ‘good’ now. For his part, Craig Kieswetter’s hit one-day runs against Bangladesh and made his one Twenty20 international fifty in a World Cup final. It’s solid, but let’s not go mad.
This is bad news. We’d already earmarked Shaun Tait as Matthew Hayden’s successor in the role of ‘most detestably arrogant Australian’. With his face, his face and also his face, he had all the attributes to make the position his own for years to come.
But he’s disappointingly fragile. He’s taking a break from the game – primarily due to the stress, reading between the lines. He’ll be back soon no doubt, but maybe he’s not ‘King Cricket enemy number one’ material.
While we feel moderately guilty about the whole Hayden thing, at least he’s got the bulletproof arrogance to only appear mildly affronted when he appears to us in dreams. Shaun Tait of dreams is going to be wrist-slashingly inconsolable and we have enough trouble sleeping at nights as it is.
We had two points to make about this, but Uncle J Rod’s already made them both with his 12 hour advantage and his despicable work ethic: Being a labouring drone like everyone else is rubbish and even if it weren’t you’ve got far too many years at it after you retire from cricket anyway.
Shaun Tait’ll be back bowling 95mph wides before you know it. Here’s a picture of him in happier days, standing astride a giant cannon.
We’ve been putting altogether too many words on this site of late, so for no real reason, here’s a picture of Shaun Tait astride a big cannon.
It’s not THAT big a cannon though. Ho, no, no – not as big as this cannon.
We like big cannons.
We don’t like Shaun Tait though. He’s smug-looking. He’s a very fast bowler, though – we like that. We’re preparing ourself to have ‘mixed feelings’ for about the next ten years thanks to old Taito. The spork affects us similarly. We admire the ingenuity, but detest the vast majority of spoon food.
Cereal, soup, pudding – not good foods.