Groups for whom Matthew Hayden is a standard-bearer:
Modern opening batsmen who don’t have to face proper bowling
Bears who eat faces
India beat Australia in the third one-day international at Chandigarh. However, they couldn’t stop Matthew Hayden from top-scoring with 92.
Hayden’s one-day record since he returned to the side in September 2006 is infuriatingly astonishing. In 30 matches since then, he averages 62.65 and he’s scored five of his 10 one-day hundreds. As far as we’re concerned, this is as sure a sign as any that opening bowlers the world over are mere shadows of those of previous generations. Not even strong shadows. Evening time in the winter on an overcast day shadows.
It’s pretty much official now: In all forms of the game, opening batsmen are the aggressors, not opening bowlers. Time was you had to be hard as nails to be an opening batsman. You’d get pummelled, intimidated and outwitted. Now you just stand a yard out of your crease and nail cannon fodder medium-pacers to the boundary boards whenever you so please.
Matthew Hayden is emblematic of this cricketing malaise. We’re so infuriated we’ve gone so far as to bring back the blue box. THAT’S RIGHT. Only the blue box can save us now.