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... or batsmen

“He’s such an impressive guy,” Tait gushes. “A total gentleman. To be that famous in a country like India and be so humble and normal, is pretty amazing.

“The whole thing’s a great life experience, not just the cricket. The people is a big thing. The best thing about the IPL is you can have a South African, Englishman, Sri Lankan, New Zealander and an Aussie in your team. I like that a lot.”

It’s much the same at Essex. Under captain James Foster, Tait’s rejoined by T20 specialist Owais Shah, who he’s played with at Rajasthan and Wellington. Opening batsmen Hamish Rutherford and Greg Smith are from New Zealand and South Africa, and Ryan Ten Doeschate is Dutch.

Slinger: Shaun Tait's trademark action

The Eagles, ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, were second behind Hampshire in the south group, which would give them automatic passage into the quarters. But London-based sides Surrey and Middlesex were one point behind, fighting to nudge them from second or take one of the two spots for the best place third side in the three groups. 

“We’ve got a lot of T20 experience in our side, with guys like Ravi Bopara and Owais, so we should be able to use that to our advantage,” Tait reckons. 

A notable omission from his experienced mentions is the 30-year-old himself. “I guess I’ve got better at tactics and fields,” he says. “My body’s getting older, so I’m not as nippy as I was (he still bowls over 150kmph regularly). And I have to think about change balls and things a bit more rather than being the dumb fast bowler and try to take wickets.”


Tait backs Warner return: Aussies need 'dangerous' Dave

Shaun Tait backs the return of David Warner to the Australian line-up after the opener was suspended for throwing a punch at Joe Root.

“I think you live and learn from your mistakes,” Tait tells TNT. “I’m sure Dave’s gonna learn from his.”

Warner has copped his punishment on the chin and after a 193 for Australia in South Africa is a big chance at returning to the Ashes line-up, where coach Darren Lehmann says he’d bat at number six.

“Dave’s a funny guy,” says Tait, who played in the national T20 side with the destructive hitter. “He’s a dangerous player, you want him in your team.”

The slinger adds the appointment of Lehmann, his mentor at South Australia and a mate, is the best thing that could happen for Warner and the Aussies. 

“He’s got a quality cricket head and knows when to enjoy himself. I love the old school approach,” Tait says.

Friends Life T20: Essex plays Surrey on Wed, 7.10pm, at The County Ground, Chelmsford. Quarter finals will be played Aug 6-8 at venues TBA. The semi-finals and final will be Aug 17 in Birmingham    


Photos: Getty


Interview: Aussie cricket firebrand Shaun Tait's globetrotting T20 specialist life has led him to Essex
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