Tributes poured in for retired opener Matthew Hayden with Cricket Australia (CA) describing the burly left-hander as one of the greatest players ever to pull on a baggy green.
CA Chairman Jack Clarke said in a statement that Hayden was an indispensable part of the most successful chapter of Australian cricket. “Matthew was one of the greatest ever players to pull on the baggy green,” Clarke said.
“To open the batting with an average over 50 in 103 Test matches puts him among the all-time greats of the game. Matthew was an integral part of the most successful era in Australian cricket history. It would be an interesting task if the Team of the Century was to be selected today to rate Matthew against Bill Ponsford and Arthur Morris,” he added.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting had no hesitation in declaring Hayden Australia’s greatest opener. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that (he is Australia’s greatest opener). You can even look back through the history books of the game and try and see if there’s ever been a better opening batsman in the game,let alone Australia,” Ponting said.
Retired pacer Glenn McGrath also hailed Hayden as a legend of the game and said,”It’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to play with him and even more so to call him a mate. And to me Matty is a legend of the game. He’s got nothing left to prove. His career stands alone. He’s an amazing person and an amazing player.
“Every time I walk out on the field,I’d have him in every team I’ve played in so,if that’s the decision he makes I can only wish him all the best. Hopefully now we’ll be able to spend a bit more time together off the field,” said the former pacer.
Former player Mark Waugh was in awe of Hayden’s mental strength and said,”He was a tough player and mentally very strong. He had his own game and he wasn’t too concerned about what other people thought of it but in the end it worked for him.
“He played over 100 Test matches for Australia after waiting a very long time to get in there initially,so not only physically a big effort to play 100 Tests but mentally to come back from challenges,especially early on in his career,” Waugh said.
Hayden’s wife Kellie was happy with her husband’s decision and said,”I’m really excited,it’s going to be great. It’s also sad,it’s been a great journey. I’m glad he’s made the decision.”