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shaun tait – the Hundred Mile an Hour Man!


In Shaun Tait, Glamorgan had the services during 2010 of the hottest property in world cricket – the pace bowler who during the summer sent down a ball measured at 100mph at Lord’s. Indeed, 2010 proved to be an annus mirabilus for the 28 year-old paceman who during the course of the year became a member of the Australian side that reached the final of the ICC World Twenty20 competition in the Caribbean before returning to his country’s One-Day International side, besides bowling the quickest balls ever recorded in both Australia and England.


The year began with Shaun producing some headline grabbing spells in domestic cricket in Australia as his state, South Australia, reached the finals of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. Amongst his returns were figures of 3/12 against Victoria followed by 3/27 in the match against Tasmania, and as a result he was chosen by the Australian selectors for their Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan and the West Indies.


In the game with Pakistan, Shaun produced an explosive spell of 3/13 to win the Man of the Match Award and in the process he also bowled the fastest ball ever recorded in Australia, to the delight of a 60,000 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. His record breaking delivery came in his opening over as one of his thunderbolts was measured by the speed gun at 99.86mph. Three weeks later at The Bellrive Oval in Hobart, Shaun took 3/14 from his first two overs against the West Indies, and prompted Chris Gayle, the captain of the Caribbean side to say “he is very, very quick” as Shaun won the Man of the Match Award yet again.


After a spell with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, Shaun then joined up with his Australian colleagues for the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies, and continued his good form taking 3/20 against Paki- stan and 3/21 in the match with India, before delivering one of the fastest balls in the competition – conservatively measured at 95.7 mph in the semi-final. His efforts helped to clinch Australia a place in the final, but England won the game by seven wickets as Shaun’s thoughts then turned to his spell with the Glamorgan Dragons in the Friends Provident t20 competition.


But, twenty-four hours before his eagerly anticipated debut, against the Gloucestershire Gladiators at the SWA- LEC Stadium, disaster nearly struck as he pulled up in the nets, clutching his right elbow in agony after bowling just a handful of balls at his new colleagues. As Steve James, the Club’s former opening batsman and captain later wrote in The Sunday Telegraph, “he immediately left the ground for a scan with the Welsh county’s officials fearing that their big-name signing and their key marketing tool was on his way home. An injection was considered but Tait was simply in too much pain. Come the next day however, some painkilling pills worked wonders. Tait played, much to the amazement of those who had witnessed the excruciating discomfort he had been in the day before, and he bowled quickly.”


With Mark Wallace standing so deep that he could whisper with third man or long leg, Tait unleashed some thun- derbolts in the match against the Gladiators, with one sharply rising delivery – measured at 95.6mph by the newly acquired speed gun at the Cardiff ground causing Kadeer Ali, their experienced opening batsman, to quickly jerk his head out of the way almost in fear of decapitation.


But, twenty-four hours before his eagerly anticipated debut, against the Gloucestershire Gladiators at the SWA- LEC Stadium, disaster nearly struck as he pulled up in the nets, clutching his right elbow in agony after bowling just a handful of balls at his new colleagues. As Steve James, the Club’s former opening batsman and captain later wrote in The Sunday Telegraph, “he immediately left the ground for a scan with the Welsh county’s officials fearing that their big-name signing and their key marketing tool was on his way home. An injection was considered but Tait was simply in too much pain. Come the next day however, some painkilling pills worked wonders. Tait played, much to the amazement of those who had witnessed the excruciating discomfort he had been in the day before, and he bowled quickly.”


Another pacy spell came at Hove against the Sussex Sharks where bowling uphill at the Hove ground Shaun bowled a waspish spell which had Murray Goodwin, the worldly wise Zimbabwean batsman, groping around the crease and virtually unable to lay bat on ball. Similarly at Canterbury, Martin van Jaarsveld, the well-travelled Kent Spitfires batsman, was kept in check during a superb maiden over from the Dragons’ Ace of Pace.


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