Recently retired Australia batsman Matthew Hayden politely declined an offer from captain Ricky Ponting to lead the side in their second Twenty20 international against South Africa in Brisbane which was meant to give the Queenslander a fitting farewell.
A few hours before Hayden announced he was quitting international cricket,Ponting and a former Test player conjured up a plan to give the 37-year-old a chance to walk into the sunset in glory at the Gabba.
But the plan had to be shelved as Hayden felt his playing would have disrupted the team as he was not included in the Twenty20 and ODI squads.
According to the plan,Hayden was supposed to be the captain and start the innings with latest batting sensation David Warner,reported the ‘Sunday Telegraph’.
“Ponting phoned Hayden around 9am (local time),two and half hours before the press conference to announce his retirement. Cricket Australia would have been required to ratify the plan,but the idea did not reach an official level because Hayden politely declined Ponting’s offer,” the newspaper said.
Hayden,who ran a lap of honour at the change of innings,confirmed the plan and said he was stunned by the proposal.
“Ricky did ring me on the morning of the game. He said,’I’ll stand down for you if you want to play one last time’,” Hayden said.
“I was blown away by Ricky’s gesture,I said,’thanks mate,but I can’t do it’. I had made my decision. I was retiring in a couple of hours and I didn’t want to make the announcement and then go out there and play for Australia,” said Heyden.
“For me it has always been about the team and it would have disrupted them. I was rapt with the lap of honour. It was a great way to say goodbye.”
Cricket Australia spokesman Phillip Pope said a Hayden testimonial would have been difficult to ratify as the veteran opener had formalised his retirement with CA boss James Sutherland.
“From a selection point of view it couldn’t have happened because Matthew wasn’t selected in the team and the selectors are concentrating on the Twenty20 world championship,” he said.
“Matthew had made it clear to Sutherland that he was retiring from Australian colours in all forms of the game.”