Fast bowler's health issues should not be 'treated lightly' February 8, 2008

Boycott upsets Australia with Tait's 'lack of character' call

Cricinfo staff

Shaun Tait stood down after the India Test series © Getty Images

Cricket Australia has taken strong exception to Geoffrey Boycott's claim Shaun Tait showed a "lack of character" for going on an indefinite break from the game. Boycott said Tait, who withdrew due to physical and emotional exhaustion after the India Test series, should have shown more commitment and desire to work through the problems.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said Tait had outlined the seriousness of his situation when he stepped down last month. "It is disappointing that any former international cricketer would treat these issues so lightly," the spokesman said, "given the particular columnist's stated view in 2006, and considering that he detailed his own similar experiences and referred to how he coped with his own situation."

Boycott wrote a column after Marcus Trescothick returned to England before the 2006-07 Ashes with a stress-related problem and sympathised with the batsman. "I know what Trescothick is going through at the moment because for three years I opted out of playing for England [in the 1970s]," Boycott wrote. "I was being split between Yorkshire and England and, in the end, it all got too much for me.

"When you are suffering from stress, you just want to run away. You can't face the pressure any more and you need to escape. It is not like a broken leg or a bloody nose. There are no external symptoms and nobody can see your suffering. It is a silent illness."

There is currently no timescale for Tait's return and the spokesman said his recovery would not be rushed. Australia's players have talked of their efforts to keep Tait's spirits up by maintaining regular phone contact and they plan to take him under their wings when he regains his fitness.