England v Australia 2010 July 1, 2010

Nielsen thrilled with Tait's ODI return


Australia's coach Tim Nielsen believes the series loss in England has provided a silver lining, with the unexpected return of Shaun Tait to the ODI setup a promising sign for the future. Tait, who hadn't played an ODI since February 2009, was a late inclusion in the squad and has picked up four wickets in his two games, adding speed and shock value to an attack that has performed well under pressure.

Tait decided two years ago that his body was better off if he avoided first-class cricket and concentrated on the shorter formats, where he has been hovering in the high 150kph region. While Tait has been economical and collected wickets, one of the best signs for Australia is that his body is so far standing up to 50-over cricket.

"It's one of the real bonuses for us out of this series that he's been able to get back in the squad and play so well," Nielsen said ahead of the final ODI at Lord's. "The only thing that I find a bit difficult with [not playing first-class cricket] is the fact that unless the schedule works out really well, he can have quite big gaps between games and not get the volume of bowling that keeps him going.

"So, while he's fresh, he needs to find ways of training harder and training well between games, whereas the four-day games used to maintain his regular contact with competitive games. He's finding a pretty happy medium at the moment with the amount of work he does. His body is responding well to that. He's getting fitter and maturing as a player as well. He's feeling better about himself, he's feeling comfortable in his world, his body's not hurting every time he bowls."

Tait picked up the important wicket of Andrew Strauss at The Oval on Wednesday but the star of the attack was Ryan Harris, who finished with 5 for 32 in Australia's first win of the series. It was the third time in his short 16-game career that Harris has taken a five-wicket haul, and it continued the trend of the bowlers sharing the workload.

Doug Bollinger's 3 for 20 at Old Trafford nearly set up a miraculous win, Steven Smith has snared five victims in the series and Harris was also the most impressive in the first game in Southampton. Nielsen was pleased with the progress shown in such a short space of time from a bowling group that entered the tour with limited international experience.

"This is the first time this complete bowling attack has bowled in England, so they're getting better and better as they go on," he said. "We realise they were very short on experience over here. We've seen them improve their length, improve their lines and learn about the conditions we're playing on over here, slower wickets that don't bounce as much as at home."

Although the side has been without its leader Mitchell Johnson during the one-day series due to his elbow infection, he has joined the group and is set for a comeback during the two Twenty20s against Pakistan next week. Johnson has been bowling in the nets this week but Australia won't be tempted to give him a run in Saturday's final ODI.

"The reason for getting him here was to ensure we had him outside and bowling and going as well as we could leading into the Test matches," Nielsen said. "We were concerned if he stayed in Perth and it happened to be wet and cold he wouldn't get the bowling outside. He's been great with our quicks and he'll be ready to go for the Twenty20s."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • manasvi_lingam on July 2, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Tait and Bollinger are just about the only NEW thrilling faces. Harris shows promise but these are early days yet. On the other hand, apart from old gund Clarke, Ponting and Huseey and Watto(who's been around since 5-6 years) there's not a new batsman in sight. Hopefully, Steven Smith and Khawaja will prove to be worthy players.

  • popcorn on July 2, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    The Aussies are back! Let the world beware, and more so, you Pommies!

  • tdobbo on July 2, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Nielsen has no credibility after his whinging in Ashes 2009 and prior to that against South Africa, but wee wicky likes him so I guess he's got a job for life if he wants it!

    Likewise Tait looks like he's back in the clique, so he'll end up playing until he's 35 and could well break Brett Lee's record, most wickets with the highest average.

  • Fan84 on July 2, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    i had earlier given my suggestions only for the t20 format of the game, the 5 "fastest" bowlers should be given the chance, like i said before they are Tait , nannes, johnson, lee, siddle,, and batting should be led by watson, warner , white , Hussey brothers and haddin,, i will be happy if clark is not playing this format of the game,, RICKY PONTING is ten times better than him, if he ignites,, he keeps scoring runs,,some are very jealous of him, i think he is the best ever captain i have ever seen, don't forget that he scored beautiful big hundred a gainst SA, i would prefer ,, for one day ,, the team should look like ( only after every one recovers) WATSON, Katich ,ponting, HUSSY, WHITE HADDIN,BRACKEN, SIDDLE, SMITH, JOHNSON, LEE, TAIT(OCCASIONALLY)

  • dummy4fb on July 2, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    It's going good for him! just he should be used in short spells. Wish him all the luck!

  • 68704 on July 2, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    The good news is that Australia has so many top class fast bowlers. The bad news is that more than half of them are nursing some injury or the other. I am not sure how many other teams would have been able to put together a team, much less compete with the spate of injuries this team has had. It also means that Australia have several bowlers who are ready to step into the breach as and when some of their senior bowlers get injured. I do feel that if Hilfenhaus continues to be fit and if Ryan Harris continues to develop, Siddle could get left out. Tait seems to be better now and a lot more consistent than he has been in the past. A good shock bowler for as long as he is fit . Australia should keep Nannes too in the fray . He may be an older bowler , but he is not as tired as some of the other bowlers in the world, having played so little cricket. Notwithstanding the losses, I think Australia should not despair as it has bench strength that other teams could kill for! Ramanujam Sridhar

  • steelo_esq on July 2, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    The reason they dont play Nannes is he is a T20 specialist not ODI and being in his 30's he hasnt many years left. Better too keep the youn guys to give longer careers get them blooded up.

  • loggerfloodles on July 2, 2010, 1:51 GMT

    Fan84, the reason we don't have that pace attack is because 3/5 of them are injured currently. Johnson is on the way back, Lee is still a way off and Siddle is hopping to get up for the Ashes, but it's not looking terribly likely for the first few tests. Nannes is probably next in line should anyone else get injured, but he's not really used to playing too much cricket. He's only been a professional for the last few years, even though he's 30 odd, so they need to be careful with him.

  • Marcio on July 2, 2010, 1:47 GMT

    So much for the "pedestrian" Aussie bowlers, as mentioned by astute observers here on cricinfo comments sections. I said right from the start that Bollinger, and especially Harris, were very good one day bowlers. The whole combination just needs time together, and experience in English conditions. Australia actually have a lot of depth in the fast bowling department, with six or seven very good, if not quite world class, quicks.

    And yeah, where is Dirk Nannes? He was the pick of all bowlers in the T20 world cup, in all teams, just sensational. So, why can't he even scrape into the top 5 bowlers in the current Aust 1 day team? I think the selectors are being stubborn - they ignored him for years, and he put egg on their faces. Give the guy a chance! He's got 2-3 good seasons left in him.

  • landl47 on July 2, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    I'm sure every other side in the world would love to see Australia playing five fast bowlers, no spinner, the tail starting at #7. Nannes is a good bowler but he's 34 and he basically bowls exactly the same as Doug Bollinger. Tait has bowled well, but he's bowled well before and it's lasted a few weeks until he picks up another injury. With that weird action he's almost bound to strain something. If Australia's counting on him, they'd better be prepared for disappointment.

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