Do we hate Matthew Hayden because he personifies all that’s wrong with modern cricket or do we just ascribe those traits to him because we hate him?
It doesn’t matter. The important part is that we hate him. The whys and wherefores all pale into insignificance next to the sheer bowel-shuddering horror we feel when we see a three digit number to the right of his stupid name.
Matthew Hayden braved some torrid fast bowling on a devilish pitch to earn his 123. India fielded two – count ’em – TWO fast-medium bowlers. A 22-year-old swing bowler, playing in his ninth Test and a 19-year-old playing in his 18th first-class match – the latter only sent down eight overs out of the 83 that were bowled.
Okay, so Hayden played Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh really well, but that’s partly our point. An opening batsman should be tested by fast bowlers, not spinners. If he gets a hundred, he should have about 30 bruises to show for it. If he bats out of his crease, the frothy-mouthed sociopath opening the bowling should split his bloody head in two the very next ball.
You could say that this isn’t Matthew Hayden’s fault; that he’s only responding to what’s put in front of him. Another way of saying it would be to say that actually it is his fault. Why not? There’s plenty of things wrong with the world and we’re quite content to blame Matthew Hayden for all of them.
Oh and the lazy bastard had a runner for most of his innings because his stupid silverback torso’s too gargantuan for his unused, atrophied legs.