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Shaun Tait stunned the world and his team-mates by announcing he was taking an indefinite sabbatical from the game
February 8, 2008
"Being a fast bowler and a pretty good mate, you pick up little things, and I could tell he was hurting for a while. Seeing his warm-ups, seeing him getting strapped and preparing for games, even walking back to his mark, there were some little signs there."
Jason Gillespie, Tait's South Australia team-mate, sort of saw it coming
"Obviously Taity has been run down for a long period of time. We never saw it. He is just the happiest bloke to have around the change room. It's hit me like a ton of bricks ... We're all flabbergasted."
Ricky Ponting, on the other hand, didn't have a clue
"He's a really genuine character, a great bloke to have around. He was his usual laughable [sic] self, but deep down he was obviously battling pretty hard. He was obviously going through a tough time ... When he does come back, a few guys will really have to take him under their wings I think."
Mike Hussey thinks Tait needs to be looked after
"We are playing a lot more cricket. We are also under a lot more scrutiny through the media, especially if you are not taking wickets or scoring runs ... Taity is going through a bit of a tough time, but it's up to us as mates to make sure we are calling him and make sure he is in a good place."
Brett Lee warns that it could happen to anybody given the scheduling
"If ever he wanted advice or to talk to me about what happened to me, I would be more than happy to pass it on."
Help arrives from an unexpected corner: Nathan Thompson, Aussie Rules player, who battled through depression in 2004
"I'd love to have a talk with him, but nobody in Australian cricket has ever asked me to."
Jeff Thomson too is ready to offer a shoulder ... if asked
"For me, it shows a lack of character that he's given up. Instead of people saying, 'We wish him well and we hope he comes back' (and we all wish that), I wish he hadn't gone away and had shown more commitment and more desire."
Geoffrey Boycott, the tough Yorkshireman, puts the boot in
"If he's saying that he's exhausted, I guarantee that he is ... I don't have any doubts really [that he'll come back to cricket], but it's hard for me to say. The main thing is he has got to get that love and passion back for the game - and how long it takes is how long it takes."
Mark Sorell, the South Australia coach is not going to push Tait into a comeback
"What a blow. He's such a popular bloke, a real country boy. I'm sorry he won't be around for a while."
Andrew Symonds offers his sympathies
"It's [cricket] the great leveller, as they say ... The demons are always around the corner."
Michael Slater who had troubles of his own, sympathises
"The amount of depression that I've sensed in the game is very considerable. In a way, it's a tribute to the power of the game. It's no idle pastime. It's something that envelopes people."
David Frith, the author of By His Own Hand, about terminally depressed cricketers
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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