Gillespie confident Tait will be back
Jason Gillespie says he was "not totally shocked" by Shaun Tait's decision to take a break from cricket but he is certain Tait has not walked away for good. Gillespie said he had spotted several signs that Tait was struggling to handle the physical stress from his unusual bowling action.
"Being a fast bowler and a pretty good mate, you pick up little things, and I could tell he was hurting for a while," Gillespie told the Age. "Seeing his warm-ups, seeing him getting strapped and preparing for games, even walking back to his mark, there were some little signs there.
"This has stemmed from physical pain. He has had trouble getting past some ailments and mentally that has got on top of him a bit. What he has done is a really brave thing. He could have kept going through the motions but that would not have helped anyone."
Gillespie said Tait had given indications during South Australia's one-day game in Traralgon on Sunday, following his Test return in Perth, that he was not enjoying his cricket. "I knew things were bugging him a bit," Gillespie said. "There were a couple of comments in the huddle or at drinks breaks that made my ears prick up. I certainly didn't expect him to give the game away, but I wasn't totally shocked, either.
"I can absolutely guarantee he will be back. He is 24, he went from playing cricket in the hills to playing professional cricket very quickly. It takes some time for your body and mind to adjust to that. It has got on top of him, but I am very confident he will be back. I have had a couple of messages from him saying 'I'll be fine' and he will be. He just needs to take a bit of time away."
Another of Tait's South Australia colleagues, the now-retired Darren Lehmann, who is also the Australian Cricketers' Association president, said Australia needed to be aware of the pressures on young cricketers. "We have to make sure we have mechanisms to ensure these young cricketers develop as people and not succumb to a vicious circle of homesickness," Lehmann said in the Advertiser. "It is great representing your country but behind the glamour there are the empty times and heartache of missing friends and family at home."