ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
Tait enjoying short spells
March 7, 2011
Shaun Tait is enjoying his role as Australia's enforcer at the World Cup, and if his performance against Sri Lanka on Saturday is any indication, he's not about to take a backward step. The match in Colombo was abandoned after 32.5 overs, but already Tait had exerted his impact in a fiery opening spell that included a confrontation with the opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Tait bowled an impressive first over that featured some good outswingers and Dilshan edged the first ball wide of second slip for a boundary. Words were exchanged and when Dilshan pulled out of the next delivery with Tait nearly in his delivery stride, the bowler was visibly angry. But he had his revenge when Dilshan edged another outswinger to slip later in the over.
"Aggression helps," Tait said. "You can't get too carried away with things, obviously, but short, sharp bursts are perfect to try and bowl with decent pace and get a bit of swing and then cool my jets again.
"It was a big game, a [highly] anticipated game. Things kicked off there for a bit. I thought I'd try and get under his skin. He's a dangerous player so I thought I'd attack his mind and try and get under his skin a bit; and vice-versa, he got under mine. If you start off like that and there's a few words exchanged it's nice to get a wicket. It worked out well for me in the end."
Heavy rain meant Tait was restricted to five overs on Saturday but the fact that he found outswing in addition to his usual movement in to the right-handers was a good sign. Tait's opening spells are often sprinkled with wides but he didn't bowl a single one on Saturday, the first time he had bowled in an ODI without offering a wide since his second match, back in February 2007.
The return of Tait to Australia's one-day team last year after he had appeared to have become a Twenty20 specialist has added some bite to the attack. Already in this tournament he has six wickets at 15.33 and after his successful 2007 World Cup, he now has 29 victims in World Cup cricket, more than men like Kapil Dev and Curtly Ambrose.
With matches against Kenya and Canada coming up, he could fly up the list in the next week and a half. Six more wickets would push Tait into seventh place on the all-time World Cup wicket tally, ahead of Ian Botham, Shane Warne, Shaun Pollock and Imran Khan.
"I don't really think about stats that much, I'm not really a cricket geek," Tait said. "But it's a nice thing I suppose. This is probably going to be my last World Cup so I'm just going to enjoy it while I can. I'd be surprised [if I play in 2015], but you never know."
Australia have a long break before their next game, against Kenya on March 13 in Bangalore.