Saturday, December 9, 2023

“India is the number one nation in international cricket”: Shaun Tait, Former Australian Bowler

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Recently, Shaun Tait, Former Australian Bowler joined NewsX for an exclusive interview in its special segment NewsX A-List. Shaun Tait is one of the fastest bowlers of his time and a celebrated former Australian cricketer.

Addressing the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on his life, Shaun said,  “I’m sorry to see you guys in India, but we’ve been pretty smooth sailing, to be honest in South Australia. You know, obviously, they’re pretty strict with everything and obviously, we have a pretty small population so it’s quite easy to manage, unlike where you are in Delhi, I suppose, with a huge population. So look, at the moment it’s okay, they’re still a bit restrictive. You know, I’d like to come to India and my wife would like to come to India and see her family. But obviously, that’s not going to happen for quite some time. But you know, looking over the rest of the world I think we’ve got it pretty easy.”

Shaun has himself played the IPL for many years and currently, it’s going on in Dubai. Talking about the same, he said, “It’s certainly different, but I must admit, I’m pretty impressed. The way they’ve done it all, I think they’ve got the crowd noise through the speakers or whatever they’ve done. And it’s on really late at night here, so I’ve been recording most of the matches and watching some of them the next day. And on the weekends, there’s an earlier game but I must say I’ve been pretty impressed. It’s been a pretty good tournament really, fairly entertaining. You know, with the COVID stuff. It’s just good to have some cricket on, to be honest.”

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Talking about Covid-19’s impact on the game of cricket, Shaun said, “I was always pretty happy to have a rest, to be honest, I would have been quite happy with it as a player, I was a bit lazy like that. But I think they’ve done all right, obviously, there’s certainly the bowlers I felt the first half the tournament, were a bit scratchy. And you know, they’re getting hit at the park nearly every game basically and I think that brought that back a little bit. So I suppose the players are going to be a little bit rusty. But they’ve all managed to get into the tournament and now there’s some really good cricket being played.”

Shaun further spoke about the bio bubble concept, according to him, “Covid-19 vaccine is such an unknown thing right now. I hope it doesn’t take two years to get back to a normal place but at the moment you could probably safely say, it probably will. I think maybe you know one thing to consider, and I’m sure they’re considering everything, the ICC probably just breaks in between tournament so players can get home to their families and if we can sustain that, implies on miserable when their wife and their families are in the bubble, that’ll improve the cricket as well as the performance of the players, they’ll be hungry to play quicker.”

Tait has a unique connection with the IPL, he has had the fastest delivery in the IPL in April 2017. He registered a record of 167 kilometres per hour in his name and nobody’s been able to break that record so far. Talking about the same, Shaun said, “I was bowling to Sehwag, I remember Aaron Finch was playing and I think that game we tried to set Virendar Sehwag up. We tried to ball short, fast and wide to his strength. He hit the first one through point four and we sort of blocked the offside and then the next one he nicked through the slips and Rahul Dravid took a great catch. So I remember being quite fired up for that match.”

During the Covid-19 lockdown, a lot of people picked up some new skills like cooking, gardening, etc. Shaun said, ” I have always been a decent, reasonable cook. Well, not a very good cook, but I’ve always tried to cook, so that’s been the same. The gardening has gone downhill, there’s really a little bit of PlayStation recently, which is so sad. I took the dog for a walk this afternoon. That’s about always going on, to be honest. Got a three-year-old daughter and she’s keeping us fairly busy and whatnot.”

Cricket is going to be on in Australia, India is travelling to Australia. Both the cricket boards have agreed, there are going to be Test matches, ODIs and T-20s. Talking about the same, Tait said, “I just actually looked at the squads today. And then, I mean, it’s a bit of a cliche, but they’re both pretty strong. My gut feeling is that the Test series is going to be very hotly fought out. If Australia is going to win in these series, I think you could possibly bank on them, maybe a draw. I think India will win the T 20s. I just think they’ve got that part of the game right at the moment. The one-day series again, I mean, it wouldn’t surprise me if Australia could beat India in the one-days. So I think it’s Australia in the one-days, maybe Australia in the Test series and maybe India in the T-20s is my guess.”

Cricketer Rohit Sharma was initially excluded from this tournament (IPL), “He’s probably my favourite player to watch, to be honest. So a bit disappointing, but I think he is injured, I don’t know what’s going on there, maybe he is sick of the bubble,” said Shaun.

Talking about International cricket, Shaun said, “Certainly India probably is the number one nation, I think, at the moment, the strongest nation. I think England is obviously very, very strong. Australia is always going to be around the mark, they’ve had a couple of tough years, obviously, but they’ve come right back into contention with a top couple of teams. I think the West Indies have actually improved a lot in the last 12 months or two years. I think Jason Holder seems like he’s got his troops rallied around him, he seems like a good leader. They are playing some pretty good cricket and I think New Zealand and West Indies have taken South Africa’s spot. South Africa seems to be struggling with a few things off the field as well but they’ve got some great cricket in South Africa, so they’re on their way. They could always change that around pretty quickly. But obviously, New Zealand has been among huge improvers in the last five years type thing. But yeah, the West Indies have been impressive, because I think world cricket and people that follow world cricket were really concerned about the West Indies, and I feel like they’ve improved a lot.”

Shaun Tait has played under a number of skippers and in a number of formats as well. On being asked about his favourite skipper, he said, “That’s hard. Every time I’ve been asked this question, I’ll just have to sit there and think about it, and sort of just throw any old name up. I’ve taken my mind back and I’ll cancel the other stuff out because I had some great captains in Ponting but because we’re on the topic of IPL, I was very lucky to play to Warney and also Rahul Dravid, and they’re both very different. They’re both very, very different captains but I quite liked both of them. So it just shows us there’s more than one way to lead a team and I think those two are pretty opposite. But they both did a reasonable job at being leaders.”

Talking about the future of Test cricket, Shaun said, “I just think that T-20 has become really popular and it’s become more popular through the subcontinent than anywhere. Here in Australia, you look at the big bash, they’re tinkering around with that a little bit and I think it was a really good tournament. Now they’ve got to get it back to where it was but young kids love it here. I think the subcontinent is not just young kids, it’s everybody that really loves the short form. I am saying that I don’t think T-20 undermines Test cricket, I think it’s just part of it. I think this is the thing in cricket, where there’s Test vs. one-day vs. T-20, rather than everything together and enjoying the whole thing. And I think Australia needs to get that right because I saw some comments and they must be from one of the selectors, he was saying that Test cricket is very, very important. But he didn’t say anything about the one-days and the 2020s. So sometimes I feel like we’ll rest some players against India in the one-day and the 2020s and we will get beaten by them and accept it. So I just think when you’re playing against India, you need to feel your best side in every tournament because it’s such a big deal, it’s such a big thing. So I’ll just like to say, a little bit more seriousness be taken to the 2020 team for Australia then shine as the Indians do.”

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