First and last – Shaun Tait

First coach? My first coach was my dad Phil. I was a young kid bowling in the backyard in Adelaideand my dad decided that I was going to be a fast bowler. I was bigger than the other kids and he showed me how to get the ball to come out quickly.

First wicket as a professional? My brother was playing club cricket for Chepstead as a local (he has a British passport) in 2009 and I joined him for a while. I bowled off just five or six paces, made some great friends and went back to what cricket was all about.

First time you bowled 100mph? I first bowled 160km/h at the MCG in the second ODI against NZ. I had known I was capable of it but I didn’t exactly expect it to happen that day – it just did. I’m not sure you can always trust the speed gun but on the whole I think it is accurate, even though there are some days when it does funny things like give higher readings from one end than it does from the other.

First time you hurt someone? In an U16 club grand final I hit a batsman on the back of the head – he wasn’t wearing a helmet and had to be carried off on a stretcher. I knew the guy and it didn’t feel good but it helped us win the game. If you can’t get him out, knock him out! Hurting batsmen can gee the team up a bit but it isn’t a good thing. My job is to try to bowl well and take wickets.

Last thing you cooked? Shrimp on the barbie (wink).

First job? My parents owned a fruit and veg shop and aged 10 or 11 I was paid $5 to sweep the storefront.

Last sports event you paid to see? Last year I went to see the New York Yankees. It was great fun – I can’t say I followed the game so closely but it was enjoyable just watching the people in the stands and the entertainment. It was nice to innocently sit in the crowd with a hot dog.

First Test? My first Test was at Trent Bridge in the best series ever, the 2005 Ashes. It was a huge occasion and I did well in the first innings taking three wickets, but the second dig wasn’t as good – I went for about a run a ball and didn’t bowl much.

Last ODI? My last ODI was the quarter-final of the World Cup versus India in Ahmedabad. It was disappointing to lose the game but we put up a good fight and there was no shame in losing to the side that went on to win the tournament.

Last time you didn’t bat at No 11? In an IPL game against Kolkata the other day, Warnie sent me up the order to number 10 and I was out for a golden duck. I guess I’m a number 11 bat.

First stint in county cricket? I had a four-week County stint for Durham in 2004 and it didn’t go well at all. I bowled loads of wides and no-balls and just couldn’t maintain any rhythm or discipline. I realised then that I needed to go home and work a lot harder on my game and come back as a stronger cricketer.

Last stint in county cricket? I played T20 for Glamorgan last summer and it went OK but I had a few elbow problems. My fitness is much better now though my elbow is never 100%. People will criticise me for retiring from Test cricket and call me a gun-for-hire but T20 cricket suits me as it is a way I can prolong my career.

First match-winning performance? My first big match-winning performance was probably at U16 level when I took thirteen wickets in a match – in the second innings we bowled them out for 20 runs!

Last match-winning performance? My first and last hat-trick was for the Sturt club side in 2004 but I think I still have another one up my sleeve.

This interview appeared in the Surrey programme for the 2011 season. Tait represented the County in the Friends Life t20.

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