Imagine the slash and burn cricket of Naga Mirchis vs Guntur Chillies 😜

The Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket season is about to commence, just as the Indian Political League steps back after a hectic election spell. Considering the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has lost a lot of lolly to the ICC in recent weeks, here is a suggestion for Indian cricket honchos to expand the game beyond IPL format to states, cities, suburbs, and even mohallas, so it can recoup the losses and generate more revenues.

To do this, administrators can tap into India’s vast geo-socio-political milieu, encouraging formation of new cricket teams with new paradigms. Just eight or ten IPL teams duking it out won’t do. There is enough competitive fire and animus in India to have many such leagues and myriad teams, giving voice (and cricket) to every section of the population. This will dissipate a lot of energy and anger that is otherwise expressed through rioting, arson, hartal, stone-throwing etc.

For instance, the recent agitation in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for retaining traditions such as Jallikattu and Kambala (a buffalo race) should have engendered teams called Tamil Nadu Jollycats and Karnataka Comeballers to play each other to determine which is better. Similarly, we could have ethnicity- and linguistic-based teams and match-ups such as Kashmiri Stonethrowers v Telengana Hungerstrikers, Malayali Malingers v Naga Naysayers etc. They could even be political outfit based, bringing into play teams such as Hurriyat Harriers facing off Dravida Dominoes.

There can also be separate metropolitan based leagues representing the defining characteristic of each city – for e.g., Bangalore TrafficJammers v Delhi Polluters, Mumbai Slumdwellers v Chennai Self-Immolators etc. Tier Two and Tier Three cities and towns can also jump into the fray (and aim for promotion to the big league) after contests between the likes of Mysore Retirees v Pune Pensioners. For that matter, even satellite cities and suburbia can get in on the action with games between the likes of Gurgaon Pretenders v Noida Nobodies. Hill Stations could line up the likes of Khandala Loafers v Kodai Romeos.

Teams could also be formed on the basis of geographical food preferences (UP Doodhwalas v Punjab Lassiwalas, Bengal Mithaiwalas v Rajasthani Halwais etc). Small towns boasting of geography specific specialties could throw up teams (Ratnagiri Alphonsos, Nagpur Oranges, Naga Mirchis, Darjeeling Teas, Malabar Peppers, Guntur Chillies, Tezpur Litchis, Nanjangud Bananas, Allahabadi Surkhas, Bikaneri Bhujias) that would bring spice and flavor to the league. Imagine the slash and burn cricket between two hot teams like Naga Mirchis v Guntur Chillies.

When all is said and done, we will have huge revenues and lasting enmity. We can then get ready for a transcontinental showdown between Indian Friends and Australian Fiends.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ruminations/let-1000-leagues-bloom-imagine-the-slash-and-burn-cricket-of-naga-mirchis-vs-guntur-chillies-f0-9f-98-9c/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

Tests got their mojo back: In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket, contests with Australia have acquired dramatic importance

It’s been a week since India beat Australia in the final Test at Dharamshala but the excitement still lingers. I’ve been jogging my memory ceaselessly and can’t think of many series as competitive and pulsating, climaxing in the most enthralling Indian season ever.

With 10 wins from 13 Tests (and only one defeat) against four different opponents, this has easily been India’s best performance at home. Impressive as this seems, it is the sheer quality of cricket played by Virat Kohli and Co that was riveting.

True, playing on home pitches is an advantage. But this can easily be squandered by complacency, cockiness or – especially in a long season – dwindling consistency. There is also the flip side to playing at home, often disregarded, which is the pressure of expectation. Former Australia captain Steve Waugh said somewhere recently that he always preferred overseas tours as the distractions were far lesser. Where the Indian team is concerned, pressure from fans is manifold, given the manic following for cricket.

In any case, home support and friendly pitches are no guarantee to success: In the last full home season in 2012-13, for instance, England won 2-1 after losing the first Test. Lose focus, lose series.

There were also other challenges confronting the Indian team. For instance, the entire season was played against the backdrop of the turmoil in BCCI vis-à-vis the Justice Lodha panel recommendations. To believe that players are inured from fractious off-field developments is a one-dimensional view of how sport is played. They do feel the tugs and pulls of controversies. The effort to blank such things from the mind can be daunting.

Through all this, India played with admirable focus. That talent in Indian cricket is deep and widespread – despite misgivings about how the sport is administered in the country – was evident from how even newbies and rookies rose to the occasion.

Collectively, this effort played out a superb script as the season wore on. The team enhanced its lead at the top of the ICC rankings in great style, and in the process gave Test cricket in India the kiss of life.

The challenge of winning overseas looms now, as captain Virat Kohli admitted. India’s record in away Tests over the last decade-odd is dismal but this season gave hope that things might be changing.

Players like KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav appear to have come of age in the five-day format. Yadav’s success in particular is most encouraging as India have lacked a wicket-taking fast bowler since Zaheer Khan’s heydays. Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and a fully fit Mohammed Shami make a daunting pace quartet. It is reasonable to believe too that Ashwin and Jadeja have gained from experience and will be more effective overseas now.

Essentially, though, it is about the changed mindset of players. There is a chutzpah, positivity and optimism that separate this team from any in the past. This seems derived from the personality of the captain. Kohli’s energy, passion and desire to win is infectious. He has been able to instil intensity of performance, sustained aggression and an unrelenting quest for success which works even in his absence as evidenced.

This captured the imagination of cricket fans even as opponents were vanquished. Crowds for all 13 Tests, if not quite like in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, were huge by contemporary standards. Dwindling spectatorship for Tests in recent years in India was contrasted by the phenomenal success of the Indian Premier League in the last decade. This season showed that the five-day format’s appeal is still intact.

The charm of the five-day format remains unparalleled when teams play skilfully, hard and uncompromisingly as witnessed in the series against Australia, without doubt the high point of the season.

The obvious comparison is with the 2001 series, also against Australia. India had come from behind then too to win the rubber, immortalised by the magical turnaround effected by VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh in the second Test in Kolkata. The calibre of the Australian side in 2001 was much higher of course. The Aussies were world champions then and boasted several stellar players. Steve Smith, on the other hand, led a young team with a wobbly track record and must be lauded for running India so close.

In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket ties, India’s contests with Australia have acquired an importance that is invaluable for the game, and a competitive edge that provokes bitter, high-strung contests. Inevitably, this will throw up volatile situations every now and then. But if these are managed competently by authority and players themselves, the problem can easily be defused without compromising on the intensity of cricket played.

I believe ICC match referee Chris Broad erred in not even reprimanding Smith for his self-confessed ‘brain fade’ moment in the second Test. This stoked acrimony between the two teams, fuelled further by some ill-conceived remarks from Cricket Australia and BCCI.

Happily, it all ended well. Smith was contrite in his post-series statements, accepting that he had let emotions ‘slip’ a bit in the series. Kohli, after impetuously ‘unfriending’ the Aussies, clarified that this was not directed against them all, only ‘one or two’.

The ethos of competitive sport is one-upmanship, no quarter given or asked. But this should not extend to bitter aftertaste. Grace in defeat and magnanimity in victory may be old world virtues but enhance sport, as they do life.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/tests-got-their-mojo-back-in-the-absence-of-india-pakistan-cricket-contests-with-australia-have-acquired-dramatic-importance/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

Carberry hits ton on return after cancer treatment

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Carberry hits ton on return after cancer treatment

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Sun, 02 Apr, 2017, 10:23 PM

Michael Carberry received a standing ovation from the Ageas Bowl crowd © Getty

Hampshire opener Michael Carberry marked his return to cricket with a century against Cardiff MCCU at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday (April 2). The left-handed batsman, who has played six Tests for England, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour last July and missed the second half of last season.

Carberry, who returned to cricket after a successful treatment, was given a standing ovation by the crowd after he was dismissed by David O’Sullivan, but not before scoring a 121-ball 100. His innings helped Hampshire post 289 in the first innings, before reducing the opposition to 21 for 2 at Stumps on the opening day.

In an official statement last week, the left-hander had said, “I would like to thank my family, the club, the supporters and my team-mates worldwide for all the kind messages of support and love through another very tough time in my career and life.

“There is still a long way to go to being ‘recovered’ fully, but the outpouring of support from the cricket family has helped massively in getting me back playing and I’m looking forward to another great summer with Hampshire.

“In regards to the media, I would like to thank them for respecting my privacy in dealing with my illness and I would like to ask for this to continue on my return.”

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Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93736/carberry-hits-ton-on-return-after-cancer-treatment

IPL 2017: In season of injuries, Rohit Sharma wants to put his season of injury behind

Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time.”

Rohit Sharma Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time.”Rohit Sharma

THE BUILD-UP to IPL 10 so far has been more about those who’ll miss out rather than those who will grace the stage for the big anniversary edition of the T20 extravaganza. But one familiar face will be using the glitzy platform to make a return to big-ticket cricket after a five-month layoff. And Rohit Sharma, who’s led Mumbai Indians to two title triumphs in the last five years, on Sunday sounded both relieved and excited to be back.

This was his first media appearance since suffering a harrowing injury back in late October, and we’re at a posh South Mumbai hotel where he’s flanked by new coach and fellow batting stylist, Mahela Jayawardene. But ask him about the injury and you can almost see him cringe while recalling the moment when he realized his home season was more or less done with. It led to him having to undergo thigh surgery in London that robbed him off some considerable playing time at a crucial stage in his international career. So much so that the sound that he heard while scrambling across for a single during the final ODI of the India-New Zealand series in Vizag, is still very vivid in his memory.

“I was scared when that happened. It’s something which has never happened to me. I heard a very loud noise while taking a run. I was a little scared until we got an MRI done, I did not know what to expect and what it was. But once everything was clear, once the days passed by, we spoke to a lot of doctors around the world and with Patrick (Farhart, the Indian team physio) as well, they all gave me the confidence saying it was not a major problem, it’s just a small injury that you need to go through,” he said.

A lot has changed since Rohit limped off around the time the lengthy home season was just about getting warmed up. India won every series across all formats, and consolidated their reign at the top of Test cricket for starters. A number of Australian players aren’t Kohli’s “friends” anymore and India has a new triple centurion, one who might not have played if Rohit had been fit. In many ways, Rohit will have to start afresh and the IPL, a tournament that he’s taken by storm with the bat very often, could be just the stage he needs to make his presence felt again. Rohit will obviously be a shoo-in for the Indian squad that will travel to England to defend the Champions Trophy in June. But having started off with a special series against New Zealand, which was one of his best in Test cricket, missing out on 10 Tests must have been debilitating, especially since he’s yet to make the longer format his own.

So it was only natural for him to not take too kindly to his rehab stint at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore being referred to as a “holiday” by one reporter. “I was not on holiday. I was in Bangalore (National Cricket Academy) if you want to call that as a holiday destination then you may,” he said before adding, “Most important thing at that moment is your mind-set. Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time. It was tough to sit in the hotel room, watching the team play. It is always tough. But I guess you have to go through it. I have been through it many times before. These things happen. I was only focusing on how quicker I can get back on to the field.”

While most of the interaction was dominated by queries and responses to how Mumbai Indians are preparing and hoping to fare in the tenth edition of the IPL; the more poignant moments surrounded their long-standing captain’s inopportune injury and how he’s coped with it. But he didn’t quite agree with a suggestion that the layoff had set his career back a few steps. Said Rohit, “I don’t think so. I am just 29. Injuries are part and parcel. Five months of missing cricket does not do any bad. These things are bound to happen. Even in future, these things will happen. The focus is always on, if you get injures, to stay strong and come back stronger. I am looking forward. There is so much cricket coming up.”

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/ipl-season-10-in-season-of-injuries-rohit-sharma-wants-to-put-his-season-of-injury-behind-4596890/

JSW Group keen to snap up an IPL team

Some of the IPL teams are owned by prominent industrial groups. (Source: BCCI) Some of the IPL teams are owned by prominent industrial groups. (Source: BCCI)

Industrialist Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group is re-looking to acquire an existing franchisee of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T-20 cricket tournament.

“We are looking at IPL as a big opportunity. There are a couple of franchises, which we know, are looking to exit. So, we are actively looking at that,” Sajjan Jindal’s son Parth Jindal told reporters at a group function in Jaigad recently.

He, however, did not divulge which these two franchises are.

JSW Steel Chairman Sajjan Jindal had in 2015 said that his group was planning to acquire an IPL side. At that time, there was speculation that the group could acquire Royal Challengers Bangalore owned by Vijay Mallya.

However, the USD 11 billion steel and power conglomerate had later put on hold its plans to acquire an IPL cricket team in the wake of betting scandal hitting the star-studded cricketing league.

Parth said there is a surge in interest in IPL of late that is reflected in the recent deals, like the one signed by Chinese mobile handset maker Oppo.

He further said there is also a talk of a soon-to-be sealed TV deal being signed at three times the earlier size.

“The IPL will be a profit-making venture. I think all IPL teams will make money,” he said.

Parth said the diversified JSW Group otherwise looks at sports initiatives from a brand-building perspective and as a commitment towards the country, but cricket will be a commercial venture.

“Cricket does not need any investing, (it) has enough money already,” he said.

The 10-year-old IPL held during the summer holidays attracts a good viewership. Some of the IPL teams are owned by prominent industrial groups.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/jsw-group-keen-to-snap-up-an-ipl-team-4596456/

‘Supergiants On Wheels’: Rising Pune Supergiant unveil van for cricket enthusiasts

The Supergiants van will tour hotspots in the city, engaging fans with games and cricket trivia. The Supergiants van will tour hotspots in the city, engaging fans with games and cricket trivia.

The RISING Pune Supergiant (RPS), who would take part in its second season in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League, on Saturday unveiled a van dedicated to the cricket aficionados of Pune. The “fan dedicated Supergiant van” would visit popular hotspots in the city, engaging and informing cricket fans with games and cricket trivia, said a member of the RPS team at a press conference on Saturday. The fans would have a chance to win Supergiants’ merchandise and game tickets for the upcoming matches at the MCA Stadium, a member of the RPS squad said. ‘Supergiants on Wheels’ was flagged off by the Rising Pune Supergiants head coach Stephen Fleming, team captain Steve Smith, franchise CEO Raghu Iyer and former Indian cricketer Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who is the assistant coach of the team.

Fleming expressed his joy saying, “We have an excellent team composition this time and all our boys are in great shape as we plan to work in sync to take the team forward. With equal credence given to experience and youth and with Smith at the helm we are hopeful to start the season on a great note. Today the kind of crowd the van has drawn gives us great vibes with just few days left for the league to start. I am sure Pune will support us this way throughout the season.” “Pune’s youth has always been enthusiastic about cricket more so when it comes to home team. They will be happy to get their fan van. I am excited to be a part of the team again and looking forward to a fantastic season,” said Kanitkar. The Supergiants have joined hands with Ketto, the crowd funding platform, and have taken up several initiatives this year to give back to their fans off the field. This year they would pay tribute to the Indian Army, urging their fans to join the movement and share their unique ways of paying Salami to the soldiers of the Indian Army, which will be run through innovative digital media campaign called #SuperGiantsforSoldiers powered by Ketto, who has planned the entire initiative for the RPS.

Along with the social media campaign, the team would also start a fundraiser on Ketto to raise funds and create awareness for the PRC, Khadki, Pune, a rehabilitation centre for the aftercare and rehabilitation of personnel of Defence forces. Players will also be personally visiting the PRC to show all the love and support these soldiers have received through the initiative. “At Ketto, we’ve always wanted to do our bit for the welfare of Indian soldiers. We have raised over Rs 50 lakh over the last four months. We were thrilled to do something similar for our partnership with RPS. It’s great to see such influential people take up something so noble. I’m honored to be a part of this initiative” said Kunal Kapoor, co-founder of Ketto.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/ipl-supergiants-on-wheels-rising-pune-supergiants-unveil-van-for-cricket-enthusiasts-4595875/

Zaheer happy playing sidekick to strong pace contingent

IPL 2017

Zaheer happy playing sidekick to strong pace contingent

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 09:15 PM

The Delhi Daredevils squad is replete with pacers including Morris (l), Rabada, Cummins & Shami. © BCCI

Despite not having played competitive cricket for close to a year, since featuring in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League, Delhi Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan is confident that he can ease into his bowling role, albeit a supportive one.

Speaking to the media ahead of the 10th edition of the tournament, the 38-year-old left-arm seamer said he was up for the challenge. “It’s very difficult to not play any match and then to turn up here and play the whole season. I look at it as a challenge. I stick to my routines along with discussion I have had with my trainers and physios,” Zaheer said.

“The process remains the same. I picked up the ball around December, got into it slowly and here I am now, ready to take on another IPL season. Every time I get on the field, the excitement comes back. It’s the right dose of cricket for me at this stage of my career.”

The Delhi franchise has a host of options when it comes to the pace department, with the likes of Mohammed Shami, Pat Cummins and Kagiso Rabada part of the setup, along with allrounders like Chris Morris, Angelo Mathews and Carlos Brathwaite. Zaheer, who is pleased with his team’s quick-bowling arsenal, is happy to play second fiddle to them.

“I have supreme fast bowlers who will take the pressure off me. I’m not playing the lead role, but just the support role. I’m playing the role I enjoy the most. This is my way of giving back to the game,” he said.

A canny bowler during his India playing days, Zaheer is considered a master when it comes to bowling despite fitness limitations. The experienced pacer, who retired from international cricket in 2015, said that managing the workload was closely related to the bowling rhythm, and that the work hours don’t matter as long as the bowler in question understands those nuances.

“When I was playing, I preferred to play more and more. When you’re in rhythm, you can maintain that. You can maintain workloads at practice. Someone like Umesh, who has played all season, he isn’t going to realise when 20 overs are done. That’s the beauty of bowling fitness.

“With all the bowlers who’ve been playing Tests and some level of cricket, it will be easier in terms of bowling fitness. The more you bowl, the better you will get. I’ve always endorsed match practice is the best practice,” he said.

Delhi’s batting order though does not threaten to take the tournament by storm unlike their bowling, with key players like Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy missing from action due to varied reasons. Zaheer, however, is confident that the young Indian batsmen can deliver effectively.

“We’ve always believed in youngsters and the potential they have. If you look at last season’s squad, you’ve got someone like Karun Nair, who has a triple century at the Test level. Shreyas Iyer has made his mark, he’s part of the Test team. These youngsters are no longer youngsters, they’re seasoned campaigners now. That is the strength of DD this year.

“You’ve got an Indian batting line-up which is more experienced and know more about of their roles. The squad is settled. We’re sitting pretty despite JP and Quinton’s unavailability. If you look at all the squads, you will find players who are missing out because of international duties and injuries. We’re prepared for the uncertainties,” he added.

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Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93695/zaheer-happy-playing-sidekick-to-strong-pace-contingent

West Indies vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Trinidad Cricket Photos

Ahmed Shehzad was involved a nasty collision with Chadwick Walton and had to be stretchered off the field. He returned to action later in the second innings.
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The Wild thing – born to bowl fast

FAST AND FURIOUS

The Wild thing – born to bowl fast

Tristan Lavalette • Last updated on Thu, 30 Mar, 2017, 02:17 PM

It was a sight to behold when a trademark Shaun Tait in-swinging delivery sent Geraint Jones’s off-stump cartwheeling © Getty

September 12, 2005, is undeniably an indelible date in cricket history. Although, Australians may disagree as it was the fateful day their long-suffering arch-nemesis England finally ended a 16-year Ashes drought. Australia was thwarted by Kevin Pietersen’s memorable cavalier debut century on the final day at the Oval to ensure the fifth Test ended in a draw and a 2-1 series victory for England in a major boil over.

However, that result was not a foregone conclusion earlier in the day with a swirling belief that Australia – who were at their peak of their powers and hadn’t lost a Test series in four years – could conjure a miraculous victory like they had summoned so many times before. Almost inevitably, legendary bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne – playing their last ever Test in England – had a slew of early wickets to give Australia hope.

With the Ashes – and legacies – hanging in the balance, Australian captain Ricky Ponting leant heavily on his two prized bowlers and paceman Brett Lee for the breakthroughs in what was essentially a three-pronged attack.

Neglected and seemingly forgotten was Shaun Tait, the then 22-year-old firebrand, who was anchored to the boundary and copping a mouthful from hardy English fans sensing history was in the making. Tait already had built a formidable reputation for having an innate ability to scythe through batting lineups. However, that rarefied talent was juxtaposed by an unfortunate knack of spraying the ball and leaking runs.

Ponting, quite clearly, didn’t have faith to bowl the youngster, who was playing just his second Test, under such a bright spotlight with the Ashes hanging delicately in the balance. With Australia’s three main bowlers tiring, Tait was belatedly given the ball in the 56th over of the innings. Promptly, almost confirming Ponting’s suspicions, Tait was immediately smashed for consecutive boundaries off a rampaging Pietersen.

However, three balls later, Tait’s mesmerising talents harnessed when a trademark in-swinging delivery sent wicket-keeper Geraint Jones’s off-stump cartwheeling. It wasn’t quite a knockout punch but nevertheless it was a breathtaking moment which even had unruffled veteran ABC broadcaster Jim Maxwell in hysterics as if he was Bill Lawry.

The vital wicket briefly reignited Australia’s faint flicker before Pietersen’s heroics snuffed out the bold comeback bid. Tait only bowled four more overs before Ponting’s patience wore thin. Still, the utter destruction of Jones indicated Tait’s future was bright in a shining light amid the gloom for a humbled Australia.

“I was young and embarrassed… frustrated because I hadn’t bowled that much,” Tait recalls in an interview with Cricbuzz. “The crowd was ripping into me and I was just relieved to get that wicket because I hadn’t done much. But we lost the Ashes that day, so it isn’t something that I look back fondly on.”

Tait’s unbridled fury tested the speed guns numerously in his career © Cricbuzz

Succumbing to injuries due to a demanding unconventional bowling action, Tait wouldn’t play Test cricket again until January of 2008, where Australia’s 16-match winning streak stunningly ended against India at the WACA. It proved to be his third and final Test, as he soon made the tough decision to call time on his First-Class career at the age of 25. Incredibly, during such a high period of success for the team, Tait never tasted a Test victory and the losses at Nottingham – during his debut in the fourth Test – and the WACA were Australia’s only defeats during that 30-month period.

Tait’s brave decision to stop playing red ball cricket caused a stir at the time but proved the right call as he enjoyed the fruits of a long and decorated career as a Twenty20 specialist. The now 34-year-old officially retired from cricket on March 27 due to a chronic elbow injury, which hampered him during the recent Big Bash League (BBL), where he played for the Hobart Hurricanes.

The injury shelved plans to continue playing for a couple of more years but Tait is grateful the advent of Twenty20 provided him with an alternate pathway. “I knew I was going to retire after the BBL…I was done. I was struggling to play,” he says. “I copped a bit of flak for concentrating on T20 cricket and I had to wear that. But I was able to play a fair bit and T20 suited me and was my best format so it worked out well.”

Tait’s unique slinging action, marked by a heavy exertion of the shoulder, was physically demanding and the subsequent toll derailed his career numerously. As he rose up the ranks of South Australian cricket, numerous coaches attempted to tinker with Tait’s action and the bowler himself deep down knew he needed to stymie the exertion on his body.

However, Tait, nicknamed ‘Wild Thing’, was innately a gunslinger and all he really yearned for was to bowl as fast as humanly possible. Always bigger and stronger than his peers, a 17-year-old Tait was recorded bowling at 142km/h at an amateur fast bowling competition.

“Growing up, I loved watching Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Curtly Ambrose…I wanted to bowl quick like them,” he says. “Coaches told me to change my action but it got hard to do that after a while. I wanted to consistently bowl 150kmh. I wanted to be an entertainer.

“I was born to bowl fast and it bored me bowling slower.”

Tait’s unbridled fury tested the speed guns numerously in his career, most notably when he bowled a 161.1 kmph thunderbolt against England in 2010. It is the second fastest recorded delivery in cricket and was just 0.2 kmph short of Pakistani paceman Shoaib Aktar’s all-time mark.

“In my thinking, I wanted to reach 160kmph and just try to bowl as fast I could,” he says. “I was probably never going to play 50-100 Tests because I just wanted to bowl express pace and that’s hard on the body. Although bowling fast is what got me picked in the Test team so I’m thankful for that.”

Tait’s international career may have been limited but being an important member of Australia’s unbeaten 2007 World Cup team stands out as his crowing achievement. During a memorable two-month stretch in the Caribbean where his talents meshed physically and mentally, Tait superbly replaced an injured Lee to claim 23 wickets at 20 to help Australia claim their third consecutive World Cup.

“I didn’t get to win that much in my career but to be part of the 2007 World Cup triumph is something no one can ever take away from me,” he says. “It was just a really memorable two months and the thing that sticks with me was the team environment. We just loved being around each other both on-and-off the field.”

With retirement from cricket coming a little earlier than expected, Tait says he will take some time to consider the next phase of his life. Having an Indian wife and recently becoming an ‘Overseas Citizen of India’, Tait foreshadows spending plenty of time in the subcontinent.

“I would possibly like to get into fast bowling coaching but I’ll sit back and have a think about it,” he says. “If you’re not used to India, it can test you with the sheer amount of people and traffic. But I’ve grown to love the place and no doubt will spend some time over there in the future.”

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