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20 November 201409:50

Shaun Tait: A World Cup biography

Often in sport, one person’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. This was certainly the case for fiery paceman Shaun Tait heading into the 2007 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Shaun Tait: A World Cup biography - Cricket News

Shaun Tait was on hand to launch the South Australian leg of the #cwctrophytour on 20 November 2014.

As a relatively inexperienced player with just four one-day international caps to his name, Tait was included in the 15-man Aussie squad for the tournament in the West Indies but was expected to play a secondary role behind attack spearheads Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

His ODI debut had come barely one month earlier and despite incredibly fast bowling he had yet to make a significant impact on the limited overs game, with five wickets from his first four outings. But when Lee was ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury the relatively inexperienced Tait’s chance came and the South Australian grabbed it with both hands.

There had been concern about how Australia’s bowling attack would fare without Lee. The side was coming off a 0-3 ODI series loss to New Zealand, also without Lee, where the loss of the paceman had been sorely felt.

It turned out there was no need for concern – the man known as the Wild Thing finished the tournament was the second-leading wicket-taker with 23 scalps, only trailing McGrath’s 26.

Tait was named man of the match in Australia’s Super 8s clash against England at Antigua, helping the Aussies to a seven-wicket victory with 3-41 including the key wickets of captain Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood.

The quick then tore through South Africa in the semi-final, removing AB de Villiers and Herschelle Gibbs on his way to taking 4-39. It was his best ODI performance to date and propelled Australia into the final against Sri Lanka.

Tait went wicket-less in the rain-affected final but his super speed had been a vital part of Australia’s third consecutive World Cup victory in what was dubbed the “most dominant campaign” by a team in tournament history.

Persistent injuries took their toll on Tait and in January 2008 he announced he was taking an indefinite break from cricket.

But the paceman returned to the Australia limited overs sides in 2009 and his services were called on again for the 2011 World Cup.

The tournament in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka did not go as Tait or Australia had hoped, with the Aussies knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals.

Tait walked away from the tournament with 11 wickets from seven matches, including 3-35 against New Zealand, and immediately announced his retirement from international cricket.

Since then, Tait has continued to play in various Twenty20 competitions around the world and in news which no doubt pleased South Australia fans in mid-2014 he announced his desire to return to state one-day cricket, making three appearances for West End Redbacks in the Australia domestic One-Day competition.

The quick is set to play for Adelaide Strikers again in BBL|04 and while a call-up to the Australian 2015 World Cup squad might seem a very long shot, you never know when lady luck might smile on Tait again.

Shaun Tait ICC Cricket World Cup Record:

Tournaments: 2 (2007, 2011)
Matches: 18
Wickets: 34
Average: 21.50
Best: 4/39