Leftie Hayden in a class of his own

Discussion in 'Sports Talk' started by Heinz, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Leftie Hayden in a class of his own | The Australian

    MATTHEW Hayden was a redoubtable, intimidating opening batsman feared and respected in equal measure by bowlers the world over.

    Whatever the form of the game he imposed himself on the attack. A broad shouldered, strong man he cut a powerful figure at the crease.

    He didn't merely take the shine off the ball. He imposed his will on the bowling dictating the tone and tempo of an innings. He called the shots; set the agenda and established the foundations upon which much of Australia's success was built throughout the 2000s. On song he was capable of changing the course of a match, indeed, a series.

    Honouring the heady standards established by left-handed openers Warren Bardsley, Arthur Morris, Bill Lawry, Mark Taylor and Justin Langer Hayden's 30 Test match centuries places him in a class of his own.
    GALLERY: Hayden's highs and lows

    Indeed, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh are the only other Australians to have amassed 30 centuries in the rarefied Test arena.

    Furthermore, like Taylor, Hayden also became a great slips catcher and even as his skills as a batsman diminished he continued to make some breathtaking interceptions.

    Hayden, whom with Langer established an opening partnership that was routinely compared with some of the game's greatest combinations, will be remembered as much for his courage and resilience as for his combativeness and the power of his strokeplay especially his driving and pulling.

    Time and again he was required to prove his credentials to his contemporaries and critics alike. First chosen to tour England in 1993 he managed only 13 Tests for one century and two half centuries in his first eight years.

    He did not genuinely enter the consciousness of the international cricket community until 2001 when a century of extraordinary resourcefulness on a sub-standard pitch at Mumbai provided him with such confidence and momentum that he amassed 549 runs in a losing three-Test series against India at the Bradmanesque average of 109.80.

    This was the making of him although he had another slump in 2004-05 which cost him his place in the limited-over team for a period. But again he defied the odds and returned to form and favour in both forms of the game and also made an impact in the frenetic Twenty20 game.

    In recent months Hayden denied that his eyes were dimming and reflexes slowing. But his statistics suggested otherwise and his fall from grace was swift. Against India in the tumultuous Australian summer of 2007-08 he scored 410 runs at 82.00 and seemed destined to realise his ambition of returning to England this year.

    But injury sustained in IPL competition precluded him from touring the West Indies last year and he managed only two half centuries in his last 17 innings in nine Test matches since returning to the team in India last October.

    Hayden who was also noted for his verbal aggression will be sorely missed given this is such a sensitive and evolutionary time in the history of Australian cricket.

    Aside from being a magnificent and consistent contributor at the top of the order, he was one of the old heads who provided Ponting with support especially following the retirement of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.
     
  2. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    its a shame all great things must end
    i always liked hayden even when he was smashing the england bowlers to all parts of the boundary, which he usually did !!!!!!
     
  3. eddie_brunette

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    Just saw his farewell at the Gabba between innings. Man that was fantastic to see a great player get a fantastic farewell.

    Hope really the best for him and his family.

    edd
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yep, certainly sad to see him go. Although many will say it was right for him to go. Certainly was a great opener for Oz and I wonder how long it will take you guys to find someone of a similar calibre.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    It will be tough, Hayden of course being the only player to make 1000 runs per season 5 years in row.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    A true legend of the game, it won't be the same watching the cricket without him!
     
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