For Matthew Hayden,life is just beginning to take shape as he contemplates a range of options in the post-retirement period,from becoming a player advocate to unearthing Australia’s next aboriginal Test cricketer.
Hayden,who announced his decision to retire from international cricket on Tuesday,wants to play a major role in helping Australian cricketers deal with the social issues of being away from their families for long periods.
The 37-year-old former opener,wants it to be a key component when Australian cricket’s next Memorandum of Understanding gets debated upon.
“There has never been a greater need within this next MOU to address some of the social issues within the game,guys that are away from their homes and families and friends for up to 10 months of the year,” said Hayden.
The burly Australian opener is also keen to help a new generation of indigenous sportsmen earn a baggy green cap.
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie,the great-grandson of a Kamilaroi warrior,is the first aboriginal Test cricketer.
“I have no intentions of turning my back on our great game,” Hayden said.
“I share the dream with Australian cricket in creating greater … opportunities throughout Australia in the quest to find out our next indigenous Australian cricketer to wear and don the baggy green.”
Hayden,meanwhile,also revealed that daughter Grace wanted him to continue for another year.
“At one stage on Saturday afternoon I was picking this crazy bush of wild tomatoes that we had and I was with Grace at the time,” Hayden was quoted as saying in the ‘Courier Mail’.
“I was just talking with her,as you do,dad and daughter,and I just said: ‘Darling I think I’ve had enough – I want to be here’.
“She said: ‘Daddy,one more Christmas’ because she loves the Boxing Day Test match.
“I said: ‘No,that’s it love,this is time’. I guess you just know. There were times when it wasn’t an easy decision,” said the 103-Test veteran.
Hayden also rubbished suggestions that Australia’s chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch forced him to retire.
“I had absolutely zero fear of my position within the cricket team. As a player I feel like I have contributed all I can.
“Maybe this was the seventh or the eighth time when I have been at a crossroads throughout my career. On reflection I’ve made the correct decision for the boys moving forward,” he said.
“I have got zero regrets,I have tried to extract every ounce of whatever ability I’ve been given and turn it into performance.”
Tributes continued to flow for Hayden who drew the curtains on his career of more than 15 years.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd too had a chat with Hayden before the opener announced his retirement.