Pace Like Fire

With New Zealand progressing smoothly to the semis at South Africa's expense and England facing the future with uncertainty (Should Fletcher stay or go? Who will be dropped from the Test team to accommodate Vaughan?), it is Shaun Tait who's made the most vivid impression on me these past few days.

I can always remember where and when I saw the best fast bowlers of the past couple of cricketing generations for the first time:

Waqar Younis at Uxbridge, 1990, Shoaib in the World Cup at Bristol, May 1999, Brett Lee at Perth, December 2000. All typifying the sort of raw speed which makes you suck in your breath and wonder (but not too hard) what it's like to face bowling like that from 22 yards away with a stick of wood in your hand.

So it was when I returned from work on Friday to see Shaun Tait ripping out the heart of the Irish batting in Barbados.

If he can get his fluctuating line and length sorted Australia have an interesting and possibly deadly prospect to help their attack adjust to life after McGrath and Warne.

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