Shaun Tait, the Australian fast bowler, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Monday (March 27). The 34-year-old pacer played three Tests, 35 One-Day Internationals and 21 Twenty20 Internationals for his country.
Tait, who was nicknamed as “The Wild Thing” for summoning quick spells with his singly action, stated that he took the decision to hang up his boots due to persistent elbow injuries.
The pacer made his first-class debut in 2002-03 for South Australia against Western Australia. The following season, he snared 30 wickets in the Sheffield Shield.
Consistent performances in the Sheffield Shield competition helped him to find a place in the Test squad for the three-match series in Sri Lanka in 2004. However, Australia preferred to play two spinners and for the final Test, Brad Williams, the Victorian pacer, got the nod.
He then made his Test debut against England at Trent Bridge in the Ashes series in 2005. However, he struggled to make an impact in the Test arena and on 29 January 2008, Tait announced that he would take an “indefinite break from cricket, citing being physically and emotionally exhausted”.
Tait retired from first-class cricket in 2009. The fast bowler, who once was clocked at 161.1km/h in an ODI against England at Lord’s in July 2010, achieved significant success in the shorter forms of the game.
Tait bagged 23 wickets in the 2007 50-over World Cup and played a key role in helping Australia lift the glittering trophy. His career-best figures of 4 for 39 came against South Africa at Gros Islet in the 2007 World Cup. In the shortest format of the game, he ended his career with 28 wickets at a noteworthy average of 21.03.
The paceman also represented Adelaide Strikers, Essex, Melbourne Renegades, Mid West Rhinos, Peshawar Zalmi, Rajasthan Royals, Hobart Hurricanes and Wellington in various competitions across the globe. The match between Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League 2016-17, turned out to be his final competitive game.
“I honestly wanted to play a couple more years, whether it was over in the UK or here,” Tait told cricket.com.au. “I knew it was going to be difficult getting older to compete with the young blokes. But I didn’t know it was going to be as difficult as it was this year (with the Hurricanes).
“Pretty much getting left out of the side or not being able to play because of my elbow, either way there’s no point going on with it. I knew during the Big Bash that I was going to finish up.
“The elbow has pretty much gone off a cliff now, it’s done and dusted. I’m 34 years old and I suppose when you’re not contributing on the field as much as you’d like to, it’s time to finish up,” he added.
Tait also pointed out that he had lost a yard of pace due to injuries. “If I was still performing really well, I’d probably do it (have surgery and keep playing). But I just wasn’t. The game’s getting quicker and better and I’m getting slower and a bit older. It’s that simple.”
Tait said that he bade farewell to the game with a ‘heavy heart’. “It’s emotional, there’s no doubt about that,” he observed. “The first time when you know you’re going to retire, you look back to when you first started. It seems like it was yesterday, but it’s been 15 years now.
“It’s probably a cliche that a lot of guys say, but just being with the lads (is what I’ll miss the most). Being with your teammates, having a beer with your teammates in the change rooms, going away on a trip somewhere to wherever it might be.”