Tait left shattered as IPL ban hits hard
Cricket Australia has forbidden Shaun Tait from playing in the Indian Premier League, meaning the South Australian quick will forfeit his $500,000 pay cheque from the Rajasthan Royals.
With a watchful eye on its growing ranks of walking wounded fast bowlers, CA has refused to release Tait because, it says, he is yet to recover from a left hamstring tear sustained in February.
But The Weekend Australian understands Tait is close to full fitness after almost two months of a radical treatment involving injections of his own blood into the problem area.
Sources say Tait declared himself fit a fortnight ago, but Cricket Australia refused to give him a clean bill of health. As a nationally-contracted player, Tait must be cleared fit to play by CA.
His manager, Andrew McRitchie, said yesterday the CA decision was "very disappointing" as Tait had been making good progress in his rehabilitation.
"The IPL was the only chance to prove his fitness before the squad for the Twenty20 World Cup was picked," McRitchie said.
"How he proves that now, I don't know."
Tait's loss is a blow for the Shane Warne-led Royals in the franchise's bid to claim successive titles in the tournament, which starts in South Africa tonight.
"The excitement of playing alongside Warnie and (for) defending champions Rajasthan was definitely something that has been at the forefront of his mind," McRitchie said.
"The Royals have been exceptionally understanding and they know that Taity is a long-term prospect for them. Whilst (he remains) a (CA) contracted player he will play by their rules, and Taity understands that."
McRitchie said a lot of people had said they had Tait's "best interests at heart".
"I only hope that ruling him out of any competitive cricket ... that this actually is the case.
"Me, I'm not totally convinced but I guess we will see.
"There are no guarantees, but Taity will do whatever he can to not only get passed fit but hopefully spearhead the Aussies to Twenty20 World Cup success."
Tait is in the 30-man preliminary squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, to be held in England in June.
CA spokesman Peter Young confirmed yesterday Tait's lack of fitness had ruled him out of the five-week IPL tournament in South Africa.
"Shaun Tait won't be playing IPL," Young said. "He's still working through the rehab program and it has been determined that he won't be playing IPL.
"He has a hamstring injury and there's associated issues behind the hamstring injury."
CA appears loath to gamble on the fast bowler's fitness given its stock of quicks is already fully stretched by injury.
Brett Lee was this week ruled out of the one-day series against Pakistan in Dubai to allow him more time to recover from ankle surgery.
Stuart Clark has only recently become available after a long lay-off with an elbow problem.
Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were troubled by injuries in the recent Test series against South Africa and Brett Geeves was sent home from the ensuing one-day series nursing a broken foot.
On top of all this, Shane Watson has missed much of the summer with stress fractures in his back.
Tait's lingering injury also ruled him out of the Dubai one-dayers.
The express bowler was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals for $US375,000 ($521,702) at the IPL auction in February, in the same week he succumbed to his latest hamstring injury.
The money is paid on a pro-rata basis for each match played.
Tait missed last year's tournament in April-May because it was held during his self-imposed exile from the game to rest his aching body and tired mind.
The eight IPL franchises will each play 14 round-robin matches before the semi-finals and final from May 22 to 24.