Shaun Tait: 18 interesting things to know about one of the fastest bowlers ever

Born February 22, 1983, Shaun William Tait is an Australian cricketer and currently the fastest bowler in cricketing circuit. With the ability to regularly clock above the speed of 145 kph, Tait is one of the most difficult bowlers to face in international cricket, even as his numbers do not quite suggest the same. At a very young age of 24, Tait stopped playing longer format of the game at domestic as well as international level to focus on the shorter format and recently, he made a surprise international comeback in it. On his 33rd birthday, Abhishek Kumar digs out 18 lesser known facts about him.

1.  First instance of breaking stumps: During an Under-14 inter-league match, Tait broke the stumps for the first time in his life and felt good about it, though it was a no ball.

2.  First instance of hitting a batsman: Throughout his career, Tait has hit many batsmen with his menacing pace but the first time he did so was in an Under-16 game. Tait revealed this during an interview with ESPNCricinfo and said, “At an U-16 game, I hit a guy on the back of the head. He turned around and it knocked him out. He was carried off the field. I don’t remember his name and I don’t want to mention him. He might read it.”

3.  Horrendous County debut: Tait was signed by Durham in July 2004 for the second half of the English County Championship. His first match was against Somerset in which Ricky Ponting was also playing. It was a poor debut for him as he was hammered for 113 runs without a wicket in 12 overs.

4.  Composed Test debut: During the famous Ashes series of 2005, Tait was given the chance to make his debut in the fourth Test. He bowled decently with good pace and grabbed three wickets in his spell of 24 overs in the first innings of the match. He did not get a single wicket in the second innings but Tait had already made his mark with his decent spell in the first innings. His three wickets included England opener Marcus Trescothick, Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff.

5.  Expensive ODI debut: Tait made his One-Day International (ODI) debut on February 2, 2007 against England at Sydney. He bowled his full quota of 10-overs in that match and conceded 68 runs. He was the most expensive among all in that match, though he took wickets of Ed Joyce and Paul Nixon.

6.  Issue over his action: During a Twenty20 International (T20I) match against New Zealand on December 11, 2007, Tait troubled the Kiwi players and took 2 for 22. It was then that New Zealand coach John Bracewell raised doubts over Tait’s action. It did not have any effect and Tait continued to bowl in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy that followed, where he took five wickets in two matches at 17.80 with an economy rate of 4.94.

7.  Action similar to Jeff Thomson: In the beginning of his career, Tait’s slingy action reminded of former Australian pacer Jeff Thomson’s action. Thomson is considered to be the fastest bowler of his time.

Shaun Tait (left) and Jeff Thomson (right). Image courtesy: Getty Images
Shaun Tait (left) and Jeff Thomson (right). Image courtesy: Getty Images

 

8.  World Cup 2007: Prior to the ICC World Cup 2007, Tait was not expected to be in the team but Brett Lee’s injury let him play in the iconic tournament. Tait played 11 matches and took 23 wickets at 20.30. He was the third highest wicket-taker of the tournament after Glenn McGrath (26) and Muttiah Muralitharan (23).

9.  Break from Tests: Shaun Tait was once again called up for Australian Test side during 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar series, where he played the third Test at Perth and went wicket-less throughout the match after bowling 21 overs and conceding 92 runs. Australia lost the Test by 72 runs and that is when Tait decided to take a break from the longer format of the game. Since then, he has never returned to play Tests.

10.  Tait’s famous fastest delivery: During a T20I match between Australia and Pakistan at Melbourne, Tait crossed the mark of 160 kph on the third delivery of the first over, which has been recorded as the fastest ball ever bowled in Australia.

 

11.  His toughest opponent: During an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Tait revealed his toughest opponent. He named his Australian team-mate Brad Hodge in the segment, whose wicket he never got easily.

12.  Wanted to bowl against Viv Richards: When asked to which batsman from the past he would have loved to bowl, Tait named the great West Indian batsman Sir Viv Richards.

13.  Dressing room banter: Tait named James Faulkner as the player with whom he has had worst dressing room banters.

14.  Regrets sledging Sachin Tendulkar: Tait used to sledge while playing since his teenage days, but the only person he regrets doing that against is the icon Sachin Tendulkar. He said once during an interview, “The worst thing I have ever done is sledge Tendulkar. When I went back to Mumbai for a few weeks, every time I went outside, someone had a go at me on the street. That was the last time I sledged him. It was a big mistake,” said the Australian pacer to ESPNCricinfo.

15.  ODI retirement: After Australia lost the quarter-final against India in the ICC World Cup 2011, Tait immediately announced his retirement from 50-over game and decided to focus only in T20 cricket. He was also the most expensive bowler in that match. Tait bowled seven overs and conceded 52 runs with the sole wicket of Tendulkar.

16.  Married to an Indian girl: The fiery Australian pacer got married to an Indian model Mashoom Singha on June 12, 2014. Before tying the knot, they dated for four years. The Indian model was a Femina Miss India Earth in 2001 and a swimsuit model who later became a wine entrepreneur. Mashoon also featured in a swimsuit calendar being shot for Kingfisher on Kangaroo Island back in 2005. The couple first met during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2010 edition.

Shaun Tait with his wife Mashoom Singha. Image courtesy: Getty Images
Shaun Tait with his wife Mashoom Singha. Image courtesy: Getty Images

 

17.  Awards and accolades: Throughout his career, Tait won some prestigious awards which include Don Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year in 2004 and ICC Emerging Player of the Year in 2007.

18.  Teams: Besides Australia, Tait has represented many teams across the globe which include, Adelaide Strikers, Peshawar Zalmi, Chittagong Kings, Durham, Essex, Essex 2nd XI, Glamorgan, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Mid West Rhinos, Rajasthan Royals, South Australia and Wellington.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed at abhicricket.kumar and @abhishekkr2593)