Birthday special: Shaun Tait – The wayward typhoon

There were very few pacers in world cricket who could match his speed. He ran in at full tilt and delivered thunderbolts that thudded at a ferocious pace at the batsmen. Shaun Tait was a fast-bowling machine, that could clock speeds in excess of 150 kmph with stunning regularity.

The Australian pacer started his career in August 2005, against England in the Ashes Test series at Nottingham. In the very first innings that he bowled, he was impressive, picking up 3 wickets, including the crucial scalps of Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff. In fact, Tait was even seen as the future of Australian cricket with the ball. He came onto the scene at a time when the legendary Glenn McGrath was at the fag end of his career, and at a time when Jason Gillespie’s best days were already behind him.

ODI debut followed a year and a half later, in January 2007, and Tait became a sensation for his sheer ability to clock unbelievable speeds. However, just when he was built up as a bowler to watch out for in the future, his elbow started troubling him. In fact, Tait has always had to deal with elbow issues in his start-stop career. He could play just 3 Test matches for his country and went on to appear in just 35 ODI matches and 21 T20Is in his career that lasted almost a decade.

World Cup winner in 2007

However, Tait was a part of the victorious Australian World Cup squad in the year 2007. The right-arm pacer was literally unplayable in the 2007 World Cup, picking up 23 wickets at an average of just 20.30. He also emerged as the joint second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, alongside Muttiah Muralitharan.

But sadly, his explosive pace was only short-lived, as he could not go on to have a long and successful career. Tait played his final international match for the kangaroos in the year 2016 against India in a T20I at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). In his final appearance, the pacer was erratic, and leaked 46 runs in his 4 overs and also failed to pick up even a single wicket.

Shaun Tait’s career was a classic example of potential not met by performance. And, on 22nd February 2023, he will turn 40 years of age.