Tait looking for opportunity to team up with Lee
MELBOURNE : Speedster Shaun Tait is preparing himself for the possibility that Australian selectors will opt for a four-pronged pace attack for the first cricket Test against India starting here on December 26.
Pain-free in his right elbow for the first time in 12 months, Tait is aware he must perform to force his way back into contention after a series of injury setbacks.
The Chappell-Hadlee One-day series against New Zealand presents his most immediate chance of an international recall, but uncertainty about the fitness of leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has created speculation that selectors will consider a rare pace assault at the MCG against India.
Though it is likelier that wrist spinner Brad Hogg, who is in the form of his career, would be called upon should MacGill be ruled out of the series, chief selector Andrew Hilditch has not ruled out the prospect of playing four specialist pacemen, with some part-time spin from Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke.
“We made it pretty clear before first Test selection that we consider our best balance will contain a spinner but there are going to be various conditions where a four-pronged pace attack will not be ruled out,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Age’ on Wednesday.
“It will all come down to the conditions at that particular time, and where we are playing” he added.
Tait has not played for Australia since his breakthrough World Cup campaign in April and Mitchell Johnson grabbed the position vacated by Glenn McGrath in his absence.
However, the continuing control and maturity of Brett Lee meant Tait saw no reason why two tearaways cannot bowl in the same team, with Johnson for variety and Stuart Clark for steadiness.
“The fact is we (he and Lee) are wicket-takers, and people look into it too deeply, I think. They think, ‘He sprays ’em, and he sprays ’em as well’, but the fact is we bowl teams out and you can’t win a game without doing that. So why not play both of us I don’t see the problem,” he said.
Tait said he was pushing speeds of 150 km/h before his most recent setback last month and the problems with his elbow would not effect his pace.
“It is pain-free at the moment, which is the first time in over a year it’s brilliant. It’s just getting my body back to match fitness, basically,” he said.
“They might do something like that (play four quicks), and that would work in my favour if I am performing at the time. Ben Hilfenhaus is around the place and Ashley Noffke is dominating at the moment, so it’s not going to be that easy, but if I can come back and bowl full pace again and take wickets, there is no reason why I can’t be a chance to get picked again,” the South Australian added.
Curator Tony Ware expects the Boxing Day Test wicket to offer plenty of bounce and carry, and also take some turn on days three and four.