Posted by: nestaquin | January 13, 2009

Matthew Hayden: Thanks for the Memories

haydosThe curtain has finally closed on the glittering representative cricket career of Australia’s most prolific opening batsman, Matthew Hayden. Some might say that his retirement has come a little late but if you understand the trials and tribulations that Matthew endured and overcome to realize his dream forgiveness and compassion come naturally.

There will be reams of copy written in the days ahead about the cricketer and the man and deservedly so. He is a modern great who has served his country with distinction. In his prime, the most dominant opening bat in the game, against the red or the white ball.

Most memorable was his form at the last World Cup where he decimated the best attacks from around the world consistently setting the platform for Australia to win their third consecutive title undefeated.

We all know what a fantastic batsman he was but few acknowledge that Matthew is a dedicated family man, a natural leader of his Christian community and a tireless contributor in raising funds and awareness in combating and understanding breast cancer, a disease that took the life of family matriarchs and his good friend, Jane McGrath.

His press conference today, where his skipper sat loyally beside him, was deemed so important that TV channels interrupted their regular programming to air it live.

In his prepared statement he spoke of continuing his charity work and also of working with Cricket Australia to promote the game among Queensland’s isolated indigenous communities. He appeared genuinely humble and was especially grateful for the opportunities given him by the cricket community.

Although he has retired from Australian representative cricket he will honour his IPL contract, in between writing a few more cookbooks and energetically promoting a healthy outdoors life as an example to the youth of the country.

Tonight, in the innings break, Brisbane gets the chance to farewell one of their most famous and successful sporting heroes and I suspect there will hardly be a dry eye in the stadium or indeed, the lounge rooms of the nation. It will be a grand occasion that will probably have more meaning than the match itself.

Nice one, Haydos. Thanks for the memories mate.


  1. He was alright I guess that Haydos, am afraid that I’m in the camp that he held on too long and prevented younger talents from getting a home debut…

    What are some of the trials he overcame?

    If only the TV channels would interrupt their regular news and current affairs programs to show the cricket live.

    Glad to hear he will honour his IPL contract, what a good Samaritan. A shame he wont go back and play for Queensland, though I wouldn’t want to face Shaun Tait either.

  2. Trials Mo? There are some personal ones but in cricketing terms he was dropped numerous times from the Test and ODI squads and fought back impressively every time to regain his place.

    A part of him must have believed that he could do it again.

    It’s not his job to step down mid-series for a younger bloke either. The selectors are directly responsible for that decision.

  3. It’s just that forgiveness and compassion haven’t come to me so I thought there might be something I hadn’t heard to change my mind.

    I remember he capsized his boat and swam back to shore…

    A part of him still believes he can do it again.

  4. He was the finest slip to a spinner that I have ever seen. And that could be the hardest and most crucial fielding position on the field.

  5. better than Tubby Taylor, TTT? I don’t think that’s even possible, no disrespect to Hayden.

    Hayden was a great, great opener, possibly Australia’s finest of all time, and certainly the most intimidating one ever seen. But after the imediate rosy glow of retirement, I’m not sure he’ll be remembered as one of the 3-4 best ever. His career is slightly devalued for me by having only 5-6 productive years (very very productive, but still), all from 2001 onwards, and he faced none like the 80s fast bowlers. For my money, Gavaskar, Boycott and Greenidge were better, and by the time they’re done, I’d wager Smith and Sehwag will be too.

    But this is nitpicking – combining tests and ODIs, Hayden was certainly the finest opener of all time – only Dessie Haynes comes close. But what a mouth!

  6. I’m with RK about Tubby although Hayden became a superb slip, no doubt. However, if I was selecting the best slip slow bowler combo MWaugh would be my slip to Warne.

    I’d never use hyperbole like best of all time unless I was referring to Warne. Hayden was brilliant and dominant in his era especially in one day cricket where his style and the success it produced changed the way the game was approached especially in the first 15 overs.

    When comparing players from different eras I think factors like the no-ball law, bouncer restrictions, protective clothing, touring conditions and their opponents need to be carefully considered.

    It’s too hard for me to choose but RK’s list of Boycott, Gavaskar, Greenidge and Haynes are all worthy.

    As for the bowlers Hayden faced I don’t think that should count against him. Greenidge and Haynes only faced their bowlers in the nets. No wonder they were successful. The matches were easier than the practice sessions!

  7. ME Waugh and Tubby Taylor were brilliant, but in my mind’s eye, I have them at first and second slip standing back. Hayden I have all gum-chewing intimidation close in to Warne.


    I have to disagree. Hayden is nowhere near Simpson, G Chappell, Taylor and M Waugh in terms of slips catching, or any type of catching.

    I’m also a bit suspect about how he would have done against the great fast bowlers. A lot of openers average 50 nowadays

  9. TT, I disagree too. I’m not even sure Hayden is a good slips catcher. He has outstanding reflexes and hands, but his technique was deplorable.

    Watch this catch off Warne and you’ll see why. He stands up as the ball pitches, negating the benefit of being in a crouch, and forcing him to dive-roll to take a ball that practically hits him in the foot. Taylor and M.Waugh would have taken it with nonchalant ease (compare here and here where Taylor is actually moving down as the ball is edged).

  10. Hayden has 39 catches off Warne in 69 matches and 16 off MacGill in 30 = 55 in 99.

    Tubby Taylor has 51 from 66 and 4 from 8 = 55 in 71 (presumably he stood at slip in the matches he and Hayden played with Warne).

    ME Waugh has 39 in 103 off Warne and 6 in 17 off MacGill.

    So Hayden was damned good as a slip to the spinners if not quite as phenomenal as Taylor.

  11. TTT

    ME Waugh played in 103 Tests with Warne but until 1999 when Taylor retired, he fielded at silly point.

    ME Waugh was a better anticipator.

    Go on Youtube and look up the one he took from Laxman. He made it look as though it went straight to his midriff when it was actually ankle high

  12. Hayden only played 6 tests with Tubby, but his catching record in games without either M.Waugh or Taylor is admirable. But then I never said he couldn’t catch, just that he had poor technique, and wasn’t their betters. FWIW, Mark Waugh dropped plenty as well.

    If the catching in the West Indies is anything to go by, Hayden will be badly missed. There is a strong case for playing a slip fieldsman at 6/7. McDonald or North being the likely options.

  13. Only Jayawardene and maybe Flintoff are even close to being is as good as Waugh, Tubby and Hayden these days. Or am I missing anyone? Laxman seems to have deteriorated.

  14. Dravid perhaps? Graeme Smith is fairly sound at slip, Kallis a little less so. One-day cricket is corrupting the best fieldsmen I think. Good catchers focus their efforts on ground fielding (de Villiers for example), and captains are reluctant to persist with multiple slip fieldsmen with higher scoring rates.

    Statistics for the past 5 years throws up Ross Taylor. He took some good catches against Australia, but I haven’t seen that much of him.

  15. Hayden was brilliant and dominant in his era especially in one day cricket where his style and the success it produced changed the way the game was approached especially in the first 15 overs.

    come on nesta…really?! jayasuriya and the firm of sachin & sourav might disagree. hayden’s single contribution was standing a meter outside the crease to bring about a doubt in the umpire’s mind about LBWs. and that’s it. the constant mouthing off wasn’t original either.

    as for test cricket, hayden’s career hit a golden run between 2001-2005. and it has tapered off from 2005-2009 with an average in the 40’s. pls name some good fast bowlers from 2001-2005.

  16. Perhaps you are right Sunny but you are being most unkind to the big Queenslander.

    Hayden was an integral part of two World Cup wins and at the last one was easily the most prolific and dominant batsman at the tournament. There were no tricks involved just supreme batsmanship.

    In Tests he was twice an important member of a side that won 16 Test matches in succession. Only a handful of men in history have scored more Test centuries. Your complaint about the standard of bowling is nitpicking at its finest and hardly relevant as every Test batsman of his era has faced the same bowling.

    Remind me again, how many World Cups did Ganguly and Tendulkar help their team win?

  17. @nastaquin – fair point about the world cups and winning streaks. just proves that he was an important cog in a great team. sachin and lara were great players in hopeless teams.

    look, he was no doubt a brilliant player and one that australia will miss immensely. but i find press and cricketers downunder tend to use the word “great” rather loosely when it comes to their own players.

  18. nesta, world cups, why should we consider them? Tom Moody has two. he is not a better cricketer than Sachin Tendulkar’s shoe-lace :-)
    Why does it always go back to “we have so many wins”? Yes, you do, You were a great team in the early 2000s and upto 2007. That doesnt mean everyone who was in that team was great. Even Hayden though he was among the creme-la-creme of that team.

  19. Sunny, I think we can all be charged with using hyperbole, however, I’m usually careful.

    From an Australian perspective Hayden is one of our finest opening batsmen. He may not be to everyone’s taste but he was half of one of the most consistent and prolific opening pairs in both Tests (with Langer) and ODIs (with Gilchrist). He deserves the credit due for his achievements regardless of how people view him personally.

  20. Why does it always go back to “we have so many wins”?

    Because the scoreboard never lies. People can argue till they are blue in the face about this and that but in the end there is only one thing that truly matters, the result.

    It is how sport is measured and the logic involved is also the basis for my favourite return sledge when in a dominant position. A sledge, it should be noted, that I’ve never used at 99.94.

  21. Chappelli chimes in:

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