Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Australia pace bowler Shaun Tait has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket effective immediately.
Tait, otherwise known as The Wild Thing, burst on the international scene in 2005 and became one of the most feared bowlers in the world due to his lethal pace.
In fact, in an ODI against England in 2010, Tait bowled a delivery that was clocked at 161.1km/h. It is the second-fastest ball ever bowled in international cricket as it is just 0.2 km/hr slower than Pakistan seamer Shoaib Akhtar’s all-time record.
However, due to the pace he used to bowl at, injuries were a common occurrence in Tait’s career and he subsequently retired from first-class cricket in 2009 and ODIs in 2011.
But, he continued to play Twenty20 Internationals as recently as last year and even featured in the 2016/17 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL).
Despite defying the odds to keep his Twenty20 career alive, Tait revealed that his chronic elbow problems and his disappointing form in the BBL led to him making the tough decision to walk away from the sport he loves.
“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.
“It would have been nice to play another year maybe, but there’s no point getting more surgery and play when I’m 35 when I’m probably not up to it anymore.
“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, who recently became an Indian citizen due to his wife being Indian, admitted that it was tough for him to call it quits after a career that had spanned 15 years.
However, he made it clear that he wants to keep doing something cricket-related in the future.
“It’s emotional, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “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 cliché 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.
“You don’t want to be away from home all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to go to India or the UK for a tournament. That’s always one of the perks of cricket is travelling to these parts of the world, which I’ll miss a bit.
“I don’t want to close cricket off, that’s for sure. It’d be nice to continue on in cricket somehow.”
Tait only represented Australia in three Tests, in which he took five wickets at an average of 60.40. However, he had a lot more success in the limited overs formats as he played in 35 ODIs and claimed 62 wickets at an average of 23.56. He also featured in 21 Twenty20 Internationals and finished with 28 wickets at an average of 21.03.