Tait not holding out for recall
Shaun Tait is trying not to get his hopes up of playing his third Test despite growing speculation that he will be included as a fourth fast bowler in Perth next week. Much was made of Australia going for a pace quartet in the series opener at the MCG but it didn't materialise and Mitchell Johnson got the nod ahead of him for the third fast-bowling spot.
Tait's chances of playing in the third Test, however, are deemed to be greater than they were in the first Test, given the pace of a lightning WACA surface. Tait himself was playing down the talk as he was facing the prospect of carrying the drinks once more after being named in the 12 for the third Test in a row.
"It's pretty hard to change a winning team, so we will see what happens," Tait said on Thursday evening, hinting that the selectors may prefer Brad Hogg as they aim for a record-breaking 17 Test wins on the spin after retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 122-run win at the SCG on Sunday.
"I think there's a lot being talked about, but that's all it is, it's just talk. The team will be announced the morning of the game so I know as much as anyone else till then."
One big factor in his favour is his form. Following a handy showing against New Zealand in the limited-overs matches before Christmas, he has continued to impress in the Twenty20 competition and was quick again on Thursday evening as South Australia lost narrowly to Victoria in Adelaide.
"What I control is my own performance," he said. "Selection is out of my control. If you put the performance on the board at the right time you never know what can happen. A couple of weeks ago, a couple of games I bowled at decent pace. Through the last couple of weeks I've felt pretty good, the rest is out of my control."
For all Tait's talk, he must also be encouraged by Tim Nielsen's comments that if the pitch looked pacy, as it has done all season, then he had a good chance of playing. The WACA curator, Cameron Sutherland, has already suggested the pitch will favour a quick battery. In the meantime Tait, like everyone else, is left to play the waiting game.
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo