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World Cup 2011

Tait enjoying short spells

Brydon Coverdale

March 7, 2011

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Shaun Tait celebrates the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka v Australia, Group A, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 5, 2011
Shaun Tait got rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan in his first over in Colombo © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Shaun Tait
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Australia

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.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 16 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 9, 2011, 1:38 GMT)

Dr Qwert, if you watched the whole game Tait bowled better than he has in ages, his pace isnt going to always be 150+-160, there i no point wasting and exerting that much on those pitches, Indian pitches are roads, Im surprised Tait/Johnson have been bowling with control and thats half the battle, tait may go for runs but look at the stats he gets nealry 2 wickets a game nearly always top order/tail (strike bowlers job) if tait gets 3-50 off 8 im happy, support the bloke more fellow aussie get behind him, because even if u hate the guy, you know he has the potential to have any team INCLUDING INDIA/RSA, 5 fa not many, give him a break

Posted by Andrew on (March 9, 2011, 0:09 GMT)

@Dr.Qwert - at least one ball reached 150kph in his 2nd spell! @Beertjie - I agree that it is NOT a well balanced side given it is pace orientated in Indian conditions, but I think it COULD do the trick!

@landl47 - LOL! Shouldn't you have said "Broad is due for an injury if his record is anything to go by."???????????

Posted by John on (March 8, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

@ Dr.Qwert, read the commentary of his first couple of overs... particularly the wicket of Dilshan, which he got with a ball that SWUNG LATE and took the outside edge. Tait nearly always gets swing, and he's easily the most penetrative bowler of the tournament. He'll have a poor game now and then, but in between he'll be deadly.

Posted by David on (March 8, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

i missed his first spell but when i saw him bowling he was bowling at 135-140, & Sangakara & Samaweera were picking him off no problem. if he's to be dangerous against the good batsmen in the WC, ie the likes of Sangakara, Tendulka, Amla, etc he needs to be bowling high 140s, swinging it late & bowls predominately full & occassionally push them back. i don't think he has it in him.

Posted by Mashuq on (March 8, 2011, 8:49 GMT)

As a lifelong Oz-supporter I have to take issue with @Niraj Vashi and with @jonesy2. How can the attack be regarded as well-balanced without quality ODI spinners? Fast bowlers can only take you so far, and then your lack of a balanced attack will see you undone. Just hope Taity's body holds up and Binga and MJ can keep a measure of control when the opposition starts to thrive on their extra-pace. With Huss back there's now a chance, but I still won't wager a buck on this team.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

SA and AUS both look well balanced and having good bench strength. Just that how well they perform in crunch situations is key. India is batsman heavy and will need their bazookas to fire everytime. I am still not sure if any of these can chase 300+ against teams like Aus, SA, Pak in WC Quarter or Semi of Final situation. Every team is vulnerable to pressure situations and still there is no clear favorite.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

Sreesanth ahahah, that joke of a player, whats he gonna do cry and psych the batsmen out whatever, tait, johnson and lee only need to be half on the mark, with every other team playing 15 spinners quality pace bowling will trouble top orders if we get teams out for 200 or have them 5-60 etc the hard work is done, except for steyn no other team has the power strike bowler let alone 3, through in watson for consistency, we are slowly looking like a good team again, and if u claim tait is due for an injury statistically speaking Watson, Clarke, Ponting, Haddin are all due as well moron how often have they been hurt in the last 18 months, or Lee our whole team is full of injury prone individulas, that doesnt mean we sacrifice our best ODI team they only need to play together for 6 more games, its an amazing stat that tait has 29 Wickets already with a couple of good games could get close to 40. AND U CANT ARGUE WITH WORLD CUP WICKETS!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

@Jonesy2 - yea.... we saw his great test bowling vs India at the WACA..13-1-59-0 and 8-0-33-0.....A pitch where even Virender Sehwag bowled a 8-1-24-0 Following which he went on a sabbatical. bwahahaha. 3 matches at an economy rate does not make for a great bowler. His body broke down after 3 tests, over 3 years!! Hah - even Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds bowled better than him!

Posted by Andrew on (March 8, 2011, 0:38 GMT)

I suppose the really telling/surprising line is the "...he now has 29 victims in World Cup cricket, more than men like Kapil Dev and Curtly Ambrose." More wickets than Curtly???? He does posess one of the best S/R ever (although from a low volume of games). @ jonesy2 - dunno, the boy had potental to be a great Test bowler, he had some good 1st class statistics. I don't think it was necessarily the body that was the problem - I think it was the mind!

Posted by Andrew on (March 7, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

@bigwonder - ww're talking about grown men. Yes sometimes sledging goes too far, (more often then not an Ozzy is involved), but this was a storm in a teacup! With the run-up Tait has - of course he is going to be mighty ticked off with a batter pulling out at delivery stride. The batsmen has a right to pull out for a genuine reason (never really provable), but if he does he shouldn't expect a kiss & a hug from the bowler. Just showed there was passion & gamesmanship in the match!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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