“Matthew Hayden’s gone” was our favourite piece of commentary as well as being our way of announcing his retirement. We’re usually quite generous with our retirement posts. Not today.
Matthew Hayden was a batsman in the right place at the right time. He was also an arrogant turd. Essentially though, he was the physical embodiment of several problems with Test cricket and we’ll never get past that.
Matthew Hayden had the monstrous fortune to be an opening batsman during the feeblest era for fast bowlers. He had a go at Test cricket when Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Allan Donald were playing and averaged 21.75.
His one hundred during that period came in a match that Ambrose missed. Ambrose had got him for five and nought in the match before and he got him for another duck the innings straight after.
Matthew Hayden’s rise coincided with an increased number of international cricket matches and a resulting heavy workload for fast bowlers that pretty much removed them from the game.
Matthew Hayden’s career also coincided with increasingly friendly pitches that were designed to last five days.
With Ricky Ponting the next man in and Adam Gilchrist as low as number seven, Australia never depended on Hayden for runs, even when he was rated the best batsman in the world. With McGrath and Warne in the side, they didn’t even need that many runs anyway. Hayden did his batting in a dreamy land of plenty where Australian averages soared.
Are you saying he was completely useless?
Hayden’s tactic of standing a yard outside his crease was a masterstroke and we’ll take nothing away from him on that score. It was perfect for the time and he carried out his plan with a competence that few would deny.
However, standing a yard out of your crease isn’t possible against fast bowlers, nor is it possible on dicey pitches – let alone both. In another era, he’d have had no teeth and no Test place. However, he was perfect for his time.
We just hated his time and because of that, we hated him. Because of that and because of all the crap he used to talk as well. That said, he’s now going to work on trying to find indigenous cricketers for the national team – an inherently worthy and admirable aim – so maybe we’re going to have to do a complete about face on the man.