His best days well behind him,Australia’s most successful opening batsman Matthew Hayden quit international cricket,thus dropping curtains on a glorious career.
The embattled opener said he initially thought to continue till the Ashes but eventually decided to call it quits before Australia tours South Africa.
“Today I’m announcing my retirement from representative cricket,effective immediately,” the 37-year old read out from a statement as his son Thomas looked on.
“Now is the time to move on to the next stage of my life. I’ve lived the dream of every kid who’s ever picked up a bat and ball…It is a privilege and an honour that I’ll always remember,” said Hayden,whose prolonged poor form saw him being dropped from the ODI squad against South Africa.
Post-retirement,Hayden said he wanted to be engaged in charity work and pursue passions like cooking,fishing and boating.
“Importantly for me today I’m retiring from cricket but not from life. This is a decision that I’ve not taken lightly and I’m here after much thought and consideration and discussion with my family,” said the burly opener.
Taking the opportunity to thank his teammates,Hayden said,”To my team-mates who have shared this exciting part of my life,I want to say thank you for your support and friendship. We have all relished in the opportunity to play in one of the iconic eras of Australian cricket and as brothers of the baggy green,it is our calling to ensure that cricket remains strong.”
Admitting his original plan was to quit after the Ashes,Hayden said,”If it was,I believe I would be going on that tour. This is the point where I want to step off.”
Hayden simply forgot to score this season and the scratchy 39 runs he scored in the Sydney Test against South Africa was his highest of the summer.
Even though it was not the ideal way to go,Hayden said he had no regrets whatsoever. “There’s absolutely zero fear. I’ve got zero regrets. I’ve tried to,rightly or wrongly,extract every ounce of whatever ability that I’ve been given and turn it into performance,” he said.
Since picking up a heel injury,Hayden has not been in his elements and managed just 149 runs from five Tests as the clamour for his axing grew stronger.
It was,however,not the true reflection of how prolific he has been throughout his career. Hayden made his Test debut against South Africa in 1993-94 as a replacement for an injured Mark Taylor. It was,however,in 2000 that he became a regular in the playing XI and went on to play 103 Test matches,scoring 8625 runs –highest by an Australian opener — at an average of 50.73. Hayden slammed 30 centuries,with only two Australians — Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh — scoring more than him.
Hayden formed a lethal opening pair with Adam Gilchrist in the one dayers,scoring 6133 runs in 161 matches at an average of 43.80 with 10 hundreds and two World Cups against his name.
Hayden’s exit creates a void in Australia’s line-up and Simon Katich’s potential opening partners include Phil Jaques,Chris Rogers and Phillip Hughes.