Fast bowler overcoming physical and mental exhaustion March 13, 2008

Happier Tait on slow road to recovery

Cricinfo staff


Shaun Tait: "The one big thing I have learnt about myself is I do enjoy cricket" © Getty Images
 

Shaun Tait, who took an indefinite break from the game, is feeling refreshed and planning to return without worrying about how fast he bowls. Tait, 25, walked away following his unsuccessful return to the Test team in January, citing physical and emotional exhaustion.

"In the last two weeks I've started to feel like myself again," he said after being named in the Australian Cricketers' Association FR Cup team of the year. "I'm thinking about cricket more and thinking about playing cricket again. It's a good sign.

"The one big thing I have learnt about myself is I do enjoy cricket. It is a part of my life and will be a part of my life for the future."

Tait told the Australian he was "feeling normal again". "For a long time before I made the decision and then after, especially, I just didn't feel normal," he said. "It was all surreal in a way. It's a hard thing to explain. You just don't feel yourself."

After being picked for his third Test, against India in Perth, Tait went wicket-less and had a sore hamstring, which followed a long recovery from elbow surgery. "Obviously there's a lot of stress on the body," he said. "It started to affect me mentally as well.

"I just wasn't enjoying playing cricket. Even when I was back playing for the Redbacks I wasn't enjoying it. I was just going through the motions for the sake of it. I was thinking everyone else is busting their guts except for me and I'm just not even feeling like playing when I'm playing for my country."

Australia's next domestic season begins in October and at the moment it looks like Tait will be part of it with South Australia. He has not set a return date but when he comes back he will have a different approach. "I'm not going to worry about the speed gun as much as I used to," he said.

"I'm my own worst enemy. Everyone talks it up. Everyone looks at me for one reason. That I can bowl fast and that's it. I'm going to work on other parts of my game as well."

Tait has also received advice from Brett Lee. "His trick was bowling better lines and just worrying about being a mature bowler rather than trying to be the fastest bowler of all time."

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