Tait says 'I'm not bothered about playing in Ashes'

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The Independent Online

Shaun Tait has revealed that he has had no contact from Australia's captain Ricky Ponting regarding his availability to play in the Ashes this winter.

The 100mph paceman was reported to be top of Ponting's wish list to be involved against England after his terrorising performances in the recent one-day clashes which saw him receive the man-of-the-match award at Lord's eight days ago.

Ponting was forthright in his feelings about having Tait back in his side and said after the win in that final one-day international that he had not given up hope of persuading Tait to make a return to Test level after a three-year absence.

However, Tait, who has struggled to stay injury-free, insists he has not received a telephone call and insists he is not bothered over the snub, nor facing Andrew Strauss' men. The 27-year-old said: "Ricky has never asked me to come back and play at Test level. It's been all blown up by the media but that is all it has been.

"I'm not really bothered either way about the Ashes – I'm not concerned. It's a weird thing how it came up because I haven't even thought about playing Test cricket.

"I got through three one-day games and then the next minute I'm being talked about as a Test cricketer once again. It's a long way off for me. I believe you have to play a certain amount of four-day games for your state before you can even begin being asked to play in a Test match."

Tait, whose lightning delivery to Craig Kieswetter at Lord's was clocked at 100.1mph, has not played a four-day match for nearly two years. But his coach at Glamorgan, Matthew Maynard, believes his likely omission will be a big boost for England when they make the trip Down Under.

The former England player and assistant coach under Duncan Fletcher said: "Australia have a strong bowling unit but someone of Shaun's pace is an asset to any side. He has shown that but to keep that pace up does take a lot out of the body to bowl at 100mph, especially in a Test match.

"He knows his body better than anyone and I'm sure if he knew he could play in the longer form of the game, he would love to play for Australia in Test match cricket. But it is a bonus for England that he probably won't be playing against them."

As the countdown for the eagerly anticipated series starting in November hots up, Australia return to Test action against Pakistan at Lord's on Tuesday. But Tait believes the tourists have the strength in depth in their attack to cope.

"Australia have plenty of great bowlers and never have a problem with their fast-bowling depth," said Tait. "Doug Bollinger has a great record, Mitchell Johnson is the current World Cricketer of the Year and quick on his day, and then there's Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris.

"They should be fine and I think they should be clear favourites to win the Ashes back in Australia. Recent results against England have hurt us but if we play well as a team, we should beat any team in the world. That's the way I see it."

Tait has been dubbed "Wild Thing" on the field but the Adelaide Express admits it is a case of role reversal off the field. "The nickname is a fun thing which has been brought up over the last couple of years," he said. "It is good banter in the dressing room for the lads and it's a laugh. But I'm pretty laid-back and reasonably slow-paced. In fact, I'm quite the opposite of the nickname. My car is quick but I'm not a rev-head. I like to take things easy and chill."

Tait sat out Glamorgan's Twenty20 victory over Surrey on Friday night but is expected to be fit for the math against Kent at Canterbury today after a shin-splint problem.