RR speedster looks forward to post-Warne era in the IPL
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Mumbai 18 March 2012
Australia’s Shaun Tait is an enigma of sorts. He retired from Tests and ODIs at the age of 28, to focus on Twenty20 cricket. Now this Rajasthan Royals bowler has emerged as a Twenty20 specialist.
The Adelaide-born pacer, who is one of the fastest bowlers in the world, will play his fourth season for the Jaipur franchise this year. Eager to get on with IPL 2012, Tait reveals his expectations this season in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com.
Excerpts IPL 2012
“Playoffs our goal”
Our goal has to be to make the playoffs and just improve on last year. Personally, I mean to play more games and hopefully the team can make the final four. “Good mix of youth and experience”
Everyone at the franchise is really focussed; Rahul Dravid is the captain and the boss of the team. He is a focussed person, as we all know, so having him to run the team is a big plus. We obviously picked up some good overseas players during the auction. [Brad] Hodge, [Brad] Hogg, Paul Collingwood is around and Owais Shah too. Apart from all these experienced guys, we’ve got a good young mix of players as well. Ankeet Chavan from Mumbai – he is a good player. As are [Ashok] Menaria and [Ajinkya] Rahane. So we have three exciting players mixed in with a lot of experienced players.
“Sreesanth and I will be steaming in”
[Sreesanth] hasn’t played cricket for a while – he is recovering well. I’ve been training with him in a few of our camps and he is looking good. He is all fire and aggression and I am the same so we’ll both be steaming in with the new ball. We should be pretty effective, hopefully.
“Just a matter of putting it all together”
I’ve been playing Twenty20s exclusively. In the Big Bash, I wasn’t so flash – I didn’t do that great. I’ve been training with the boys [at Rajasthan Royals]. I just came back from a three-day camp in Nagpur. We meet as a team in late March in Jaipur. As far as preparations go, it’s all there; it’s just a matter of putting it all together, picking the right team and putting it on the park.
“MI and CSK are the teams to beat”
The big cities, Mumbai [Indians], [Royal Challengers] Bangalore and Chennai [Super Kings], they are the sort o teams that are harder to beat. Deccan [Chargers] have always got a good team, but I think in general MI and CSK are the teams to beat.
End of the Shane Warne era at RR
“Time to move on”
Warnie [Shane Warne] was great for us for a long time; we won the competition in the first championship. Everyone knows how great a captain he has been, but it’s time for us to move on as a franchise. Rahul Dravid has taken over since then and we couldn’t find a better man to replace Warne. [Dravid] is excited about our team and I am looking forward to this IPL probably more than any other year.
“Warne and Dravid are opposites”
They are opposites, I think. Shane is all about flair and aggression – he is controversial, he’s a controversial character but he also has a very good cricket brain. And Rahul is more of a chilled out, composed, focussed person. The one thing that they do share is their experience and their cricket knowledge is second to none.
The Rajasthan Royals experience “A privilege to play for the Royals”
My whole IPL career I’ve been with Rajasthan [Royals]. Probably the best time I’ve had playing for a team is with Rajasthan Royals, for sure. It’s a family experience out here; everyone gets along so well. We gel really well, even our support staff, so it’s just a matter of putting the performance on the track now – the feeling off the field is really good. It is a privilege to play for RR. I am enjoying every minute of it.
“Pace a double-edged sword”
It can probably win you a game or lose you a game. If a pace bowler like [Dale] Steyn, Brett Lee, myself, [Kemar] Roach blasts through a team and take three wickets in two overs [, you’re through]. On the other hand, if you don’t get it right, you could concede 45 or 50 runs in four overs, which we’ve seen before. So I’ve been concentrating more on my line and length this time rather than just out-and-out pace because it can hurt a team. But if each franchise happens to have a guy who can bowl at 150kmph, I think it’s quite a weapon.