Tait reveals how he defeat 'dark episode'

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Sydney, Oct 25 (UNI) South Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait has revealed the reasons behind his decision to abruptly walk away from the game he loves.

Tait described how injuries had taken their toll on his body and mind, and that a poor performance during a Perth Test match in January was the final straw, leading to his shock departure.

The fast bowler, who at the time was being marketed as cricket's new ''Wild Thing'', said he felt the walls of expectation closing in and abandoned the game because of ''stress and exhaustion'' after playing for Australia against India at the WACA.

''I was having injuries and that was taking its toll . . . You start to wonder if it is worth it,'' Tait told 'The Advertiser'.

He believed the WACA Test was the final straw. ''I thought to myself, I am not in a good place at the moment'.'' Tait said his story did not represent a courageous return from depression. It was about regrouping from a dark episode that was threatening to destroy his career and well-being.

''Obviously injuries have played their part with my career so far and probably got to my head,'' conceded Tait, adding he was never diagnosed with depression.

''I have had a couple of bad injuries at poor times, which has meant I have always been in and out of the national team. In my first four years of cricket I did pretty well and then you have a bad patch or injuries and you can't accept it. It caught up with me.'' Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott accused Tait of a ''lack of character'' in choosing to take an indefinite break.

The 25-year-old bowler counters by claiming it took more courage to walk away from the spotlight.

''I suppose there will be critics of you and to make a bold decision like I did, someone will slam you. I wasn't surprised that it was a Pom,'' said Tait, half-joking.

Hussey predicted Tait would return ''a stronger and better person'' and appears to be right.

''It was something that I never thought would happen, that I would take a break from the game and have time to think about things,'' he said.

''I have learnt a lot and I think it will put me in pretty good stead for the rest of my career,'' he added.

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