About bloody time

Commonsense has prevailed and Matthew Hayden has retired, mercifully bringing to a close an illustrious career, before it became embarrassing. Hayden had been defiantly threatening to bat on until at least the Ashes 2009. However, it became clear with the announcement of the One Day squad that Hayden was omitted from, that he would not be in the plans for the South African tour and beyond.

His career probably deserves more of a wrap but I’ve had IT and health issues. Hayden was the ultimate flat track bully. He scored millions of runs in Shield and Country cricket and was shaping up to be our very own Graeme Hick. He made his debut in Tests in 1994, at just 22 years of age. He played just 13 Test over seven years up until 2001, when he played in “that series” against India and launched himself. He scored 549 runs at 91.5 and never really looked back.

Hayden finished with 103 Tests, 30 hundreds and 8625 runs at 50.73, with a top score of 380. In his hay days, between 2001 and 2004, Hayden was unstoppable and averaged over 70. The past two years have seen his average decline from the high fifties to just over 50.

It has to be said that Hayden has always been troubled by high class swing bowling. He had modest tours of England not only in 2005 but also 2001. He also struggled against the West Indian (Ambrose and Walsh) and South African (Donald and Pollock) attacks before he established himself.

I like to remember Hayden by the most recent World Cup. It was his swan song, really. He had lost his place in the One Day team, fought his was back and was the player of the tournament. He scored three centuries, including the fastest ever by an Australian.

Last breaking news: Australia wins the T20 series 2-0.

Preview: I stumbled across a treasure in the archives recently from which I will be sharing shortly.

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