There are few sights more thrilling in cricket than watching a fast bowler in action. That’s why the crowd at Grenada’s National Stadium on Friday will be doubly fortunate when champions Australia and New Zealand wrap up their Super Eights campaign.
For, in Australia’s Shaun Tait and New Zealand’s Shane Bond, they will be watching two of the outstanding quicks in the Caribbean. Tait, Australia’s strike bowler in the absence of the injured Brett Lee, is third in the list of the tournament’s leading bowlers with 16 wickets at 22.12, while Bond is 10th with 12 at under 13 apiece.
Both bowlers are capable of making breakthroughs with the new ball and coming back later to take important wickets in the middle of an innings. However, the similarities end there.
Tait, 24, still mainly relies on sheer pace generated by a huge shoulder turn in an unorthodox action which has been likened to that of Aussie pace great Jeff Thomson, who terrorised the world’s best batsmen during the 1970s.
Bond, as befits a former policeman, is less wayward and bowls a generally fuller length with fewer short-pitched deliveries.
Not as quick as Tait, the greater experience of the injury-plagued, 31-year-old Bond, who has played 66 one-day internationals compared to the Australian’s 12, is seen in his greater variety and mastery of late movement.