Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Tait downplays expectations ahead of Firebirds appearance

Shaun Tait. Photo / Getty Images
Shaun Tait. Photo / Getty Images

Shaun Tait's days of making predictions about how fast he can bowl are long behind him.

The former Australian test player made a name for himself as a strapping seamer who slung down thunderbolts at express pace - terrorising batsmen around the world - and was once clocked at 161.1km/h in a one-dayer against England in 2010. But after standing down from the longer forms of the game due to injuries in 2011, the 29-year-old now operates exclusively as a T20 gun for hire, which has landed him in Wellington for a two-game stint with the Firebirds in the HRV Cup.

The South Australian will debut for Wellington tonight when they host Canterbury at Westpac Stadium and he ducked away from making any spectacular forecasts about how quick he can bowl now.

"I'm not going to predict anything. I've done it before and you look like a loudmouth and then you come out and bowl powderpuffs and it doesn't look good. So, 130," he smiled.

Fans will be hoping for something a tad quicker.

The life of a fast bowler can be unforgiving, especially when asked to produce lengthy spells under a blistering-hot sun, but the rise of T20 cricket and its maximum four overs per bowler has given seamers an opportunity to extend their careers.

"That's the whole idea of T20, to try to play for as long as I can. I had my third surgery on my elbow in July so I don't want to have too many more surgeries. Hopefully I can keep playing T20s and keep bowling throughout the year. It'd be nice to play three or four more years."

During Tait's time in the Australian squad he picked up various ailments, including back, shoulder and hamstring complaints, and he also took a break from the game in 2008 citing mental and physical exhaustion.

In between his stints on the sideline he managed to take 23 wickets at the 2007 World Cup as Australia claimed their third-consecutive title and he also played in the 2011 event. Tait also turned out in the 2007 and 2010 T20 World Cups.

He finished his international career with 62 wickets from 35 one-day internationals at an average of 23.56 and also snared 28 T20 scalps from 19 appearances at 17.78 and managed only five wickets at the unflattering average of 60.40 in his three tests.

"I played in a couple of World Cups and had a decent record for Australia, so that was Okay."

Tait should feel right at home with Wellington as he and fellow short-term Australian import Cameron Borgas feature until England's Chris Woakes and Bangladeshi opening batsman Tamim Iqbal arrive.

HRV Cup

Wellington v Canterbury
Wellington, 7pm, SS 2.

- APNZ

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