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Hugely respected, much admired... but loved?

Tom Fordyce | 11:56 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

It should be a no-brainer. Matty Hayden was a great Test batsman, his numbers over his 15-year career putting him shoulder to muscular shoulder with the all-time elite.

He scored more Test runs than any other specialist Aussie opener (8,625), stands sixth in the list of top Test century scorers (above Bradman, Border and Sobers) and retired with an average of 50.73 (higher than Viv Richards, Denis Compton and Neil Harvey).

Yet while those other six men warmed the hearts of cricket fans whatever their national allegiance, Hayden seemed to leave everyone but Australians cold.

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It shouldn't make sense. Those runs were scored fast, in an unapologetically aggressive manner. He overcame significant hurdles to get to the top - not least the three-year hiatus to his Test career in the late 1990s, or being told as a youngster by Rod Marsh that he wasn't technically gifted enough to play first-class cricket.

Off the pitch he was well-rounded enough to publish his own cookbook.

There should have been enough there to endear him to the rest of the world - and yet somehow he never quite managed it.

Maybe it was the batting style. Belligerent it may have been, and hugely effective, but silky-smooth and subtle it was not. In an era when the leading left-handers were Brian Lara and Sourav Ganguly, a beefcake who battered most of his runs through the 'V' was never going to give the purists as much pleasure.

When Lara took back his mark of highest Test score in a single innings, there was a sense that a certain sporting justice had been done, that a display like that from Lara against England was a more fitting record than a score plundered against a feeble Zimbabwe.

Maybe it was Hayden's character.

"At the end of the day, two alpha dogs are never going to sit in a cage and not look at each other," he once said. "It is what it is. The way I see my cricket, if you're the other alpha dog, you better not blink."

To some, that's exactly the attitude a Test opener should have. Then again, one man's self-belief is another man's smug superiority.

What some would see as a feisty combativeness is to others an unpleasant bellicosity.

"I don't mean to be arrogant, but if we 're executing our skills there's not a side that can get close to us," he said famously before the 2005 Ashes, ensuring England fans would celebrate his dismal run of scores until the final Test (12, 34, 1, 31, 34, 36, 7, 26) with immense glee.

Then there were the spats with Harbhajan Singh. As a cricketer against India, Hayden was sometimes supreme - those 549 runs there in 2001 remain an Australian record for a three-match series - but as a man he could be small-minded.

Would Bradman, Border or Harvey call an opposition player, particularly one who had dismissed him more times than any other bowler, "an obnoxious little weed" on national radio?

To some, Hayden epitomised the less edifying aspects of Ricky Ponting's team: a certain chippiness and lack of humility underlying the stellar successes on the pitch.

As a result, his dismissal was cheered by opposition fans more than any other Aussie batsman, save Ponting himself.

It says something that many England fans were hoping he would hang on long enough to be picked for this summer's Ashes series, just so they could see him worked over by Andrew Flintoff again.

All of this sounds mealy-mouthed on the day that he retired from international cricket. Ponting and Justin Langer have described him as Australia's greatest-ever opener, Glenn McGrath as "a legend".

All three of them are right. At the same time, so are those who flag up the caveats.

Shane Warne was far more of a rogue, but the rest of the world saw him as a lovable one. Hayden, for whatever reason, would never generate the same affection.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:23pm on 13 Jan 2009, snoopy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 12:26pm on 13 Jan 2009, TopDog wrote:

    Good riddance to a fine player. For all non "Aussies" (like myself) he was a bully.

    He got under the noses and demoralised teams, this with his attittude and mainly his batting style.

    I am glad he had retired, but even at 37 I feel he should have stayed for a bit longer and retired after the ashes. Fair enough he had a poor Aussie summer - but what batsmen has not had a bad summer?

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  • 3. At 12:28pm on 13 Jan 2009, scrphil wrote:

    I really don't understand the point of this article. He was a combative cricketer with a superb record. He didn't go out there to win friends. Harbajan is pretty obnoxious.

    I'd say he was very close to being one of the all-time greats and I'm sorry to see him go. Well played Matthew.

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  • 4. At 12:28pm on 13 Jan 2009, Ebeneezer Goode wrote:

    I can't disagree more with you here Tom. Perhaps it's just with English fan's or media (or whatever) that this view is held.

    Hayden, when he played with Langer held utmost respect from all countries and players - and I'm sure this continued even after his great friend and opening partner retired.

    He was quite right about Singh - Singh causes trouble wherever he goes.

    Sure he he struggled in the last series - so what - that happens to everyone. I'm sure he would have played a vital role again the English in the Ashes.

    Hayden - legend, proud Australian, wore his heart on his sleeve and stuck up for what he believed was right. More importantly he did his talking on the pitch which is where it matters and his records speaks for itself.

    Enjoy your retirement Matty.

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  • 5. At 12:28pm on 13 Jan 2009, wallyhammond12345 wrote:

    Good article about Hayden. True to what Hayden is and I will always remember him as someone who never gives up and will always attack to the very end.

    It's unlucky that he slump in form cost him his place in the team. I would have loved to have seen back in England for the Ashes, not so that he could worked over by Flintoff, but to see his powerful and almost unique strokeplay.

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  • 6. At 12:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, wombletiltheend wrote:

    He was a great test opener.

    Good luck fishing Haydos.

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  • 7. At 12:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, Terenceno14 wrote:

    In a sense all the criticism of him reflect precisely why the ozzies were so good for so long. It's not about making friends, it's about winning.

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  • 8. At 12:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tim in Marlow wrote:

    I guess Hayden's unpopularity might in part be to do with what comes across as his hypocrisy. It's quite OK in sport for a player to be combative on the pitch and gentle off it - and it's also acceptable (although perhaps less so) for someone to be an absolute so-and-so in both environments.

    However, Hayden professes devout Christianity and says that "when I’m in trouble, I ask: ‘What would Christ do?'"

    Now, I am no theologist, but I cannot imagine the son of the Almighty doing ot saying half of the things that Hayden has done off the pitch. And it's this duplicity that makes him hard to stomach.

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  • 9. At 12:30pm on 13 Jan 2009, Oliver Jones wrote:

    A sad decline of a true great. If he had gone with the rest of the Aussie greats after they pummelled us (England) in 2007, or perhaps after the World Cup, he would have maintained his greatness. However, despite his lack of form, there's no denying he is one of the true greats of the modern era. His partnership with Langer was, in my opinion, the best there's ever been. I feel if he had been English, he and Trescothick would have been brutal. Those English fans who question why he was still getting selected have to look at our policy of still selecting certain individuals who seem to have been off form for far too long.

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  • 10. At 12:30pm on 13 Jan 2009, MrGrinch-Champion of the Middle Saxons wrote:

    Great batsman yes, great person NO !! A distinct lack of humility that crossed over to the field of play often crossing the line.

    I for one, am glad that he has retired.


    Grinch

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  • 11. At 12:31pm on 13 Jan 2009, Widnes Diggles wrote:

    This is why you Poms will never dominate long term. If you have a superiority complex you expect to win. This is the view of Pietersen and why he does not fit within the English (recent) tradition of under-achievement. OK he shouldn't have made the statements about Harbhajan in public but he remains popular in Australia. His performances in the 2007 CWC were absolutely stunning and he remains probably the greatest straight driver to play the game. Agree with your comments about the Lara although were England ranked higher in test cricket than Zimbabwe ate the time of Lara's record??

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  • 12. At 12:37pm on 13 Jan 2009, Ebeneezer Goode wrote:

    Great batsmen yes, great person NO !!

    Erm so what - even if that was the case. Is it someones personality that is under scrutiny when they go out to bat?

    Sour grapes from English fans who would take somebody like Matty Hayden into their team any day - above so called "legends" Trescothick etc who everyone is whining for a return.

    Look at the stats they speak for themselves.

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  • 13. At 12:38pm on 13 Jan 2009, offtouni wrote:

    i for one never liked him - he did have that bully nature, arrogance and spite that made it so delicious when he got out. Langer had the self belief and the force of will, but is such a nicer guy.

    BUT, i never realised his average was over 50?! that, albeit grudgingly, i have to take my hat off to. Those who wished him to remain on until the ashes did so at their peril; always respected and feared, rarely liked, I imagine his popularity or the admiration towards him will increase as time goes on.

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  • 14. At 12:39pm on 13 Jan 2009, gottwald wrote:

    Hayden failed against quality bowling at the beginning of his Test career, came back and prospered when these bowlers had by and large gone, failed again against pace and movement in 2005, and again in 2008.

    Hayden never made a test hundred against a top quality attack on a difficult track when the result was in doubt. His figures are a testament to the decline in fast bowling over the last 15 years. That together with an increase in batting friendly pitches, smaller boundaries and limitations on short pitched bowling enabled him to adopt a percentage approach to being aggressive. He was also a great competitor and very single minded.

    Don't get me wrong, Hayden had a freakish eye and tremendous power, but his technique was brutally exposed every time he came up against the best. That's why I never took to him - his bombast was the talk of a bully knowing there was no one to stand up to him.

    Statistics can lie...M Hayden av. 50.73; IVA Richards av. 50.23

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  • 15. At 12:40pm on 13 Jan 2009, warriorkeane wrote:

    This has been coming since his spat with harbhajan in the infamous-sydney test.He began concentrating more on the usage of "obnoxious" adjectives for describing opposition players.He should've retired after the series in India which would have been a perfect ending since it is there that everything started for him!!

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  • 16. At 12:41pm on 13 Jan 2009, bradgate2 wrote:

    You can't argue with his stats but as a cricketer, Hayden was a boorish, charmless, sledging bully.

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  • 17. At 12:41pm on 13 Jan 2009, spursbath wrote:

    Great batsman and a great judge of character - Harbajan is an obnoxious little weed - Hayden just wasn't afraid to say so!!

    Good fielder and team man - just judging my the aussies comments u can see how highly regarded he was by his own team and that says it all...

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  • 18. At 12:44pm on 13 Jan 2009, Mutara_Nebula wrote:

    Couldn't agree less, Tom, I am afraid!

    I think most cricket fans had the utmost respect for his abilities and his record speaks for itself.
    I think a lot of sportsmen in this country could learn from his attitude, single-mindedness and belief. Without it, you ain't going to win and dominate like Australia have in cricket for 20 years.
    I have no problem with somebody "mouthing off" a long as they have the guts to stand up and then back it up with performance. Hayden did this.

    I haven't seen a better opener in my 58 years as a devoted fan of the game - he and Langer were a hell of a team, reminiscent of Haynes and Greenidge in terms of their presence and immoveability, if not quite the same class of strokeplay.

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  • 19. At 12:44pm on 13 Jan 2009, Waydahussle wrote:

    He was the first to chirp the opposition batsman, yet went squealing to the match referee when a player said anything to him (Zaheer Khan late last year).

    One of the most loathsome cricketers ever.

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  • 20. At 12:46pm on 13 Jan 2009, julesdzzz wrote:

    Met Hayden in 1997 at a hampshire benefit match - just after the Aussies had lost the first test. He was a charming, eloquent fellow, happy to talk to everyone and one of the last to leave. He thanked everybody (tealadies included) even though he wasn't the beneficiary.

    Sure he didn't go out of his way to be loved, but that is the way of international sport these days. I still loved Flintoff and Harmison working him over - but that was out of admiration and fear for what he could do and his knocks in the World Cup in the West Indies will stay with me forever. Yes Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar are pleasing on the eye but nothing gets you on the end of the seat than a Pietersen, Gilchrist, Flintoff or Hayden battering hapless bowlers. No mercy and full belief in their destiny.

    Thanks for the memory Matt a good man hidden within a hard exterior.

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  • 21. At 12:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, bradgate2 wrote:

    Whatever you think of Hayden, he was absolutely spot on about Harbajan.

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  • 22. At 12:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, grandchien wrote:

    I didn't realise professional sport was a popularity contest. Silly me. Anyway, can anyone on here forward a case for Harbhajan not being an 'obnoxious little weed'?

    Hayden was a great, great opener who seamlessly filled the void left by Mark Taylor. To finish with an average of 50 whilst opening the batting underlines his class. Anyone who claims he wasn't a great player is either blinkered or slighty misguided.

    As an Englishman, I'm delighted that Hayden won't be making the trip over here in a few months time as he would undoubtedly found his form again, just like he did at the Oval in '05. He was too good a player not to.

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  • 23. At 12:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, sure_star wrote:

    Hayden is a fantastic player, however, I never liked him as a person. No doubt, he is one of the great openers I have seen in my time but may his arrogance, bullying nature got his enemies.
    True, though Warney is a rogue, I love him.

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  • 24. At 12:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, Optomistic and English wrote:

    i have to say i admire his ability, and his attitude, he was a winner, and comes across as such. is there anyhting wrong with that, i wouldn't be like that, but im not saying its wrong either, if thats the way you can get your success and thats the person you are then well done as you've been successful, and ultimatley the player themselves should be the judge of their ability, and his statistical legacy will stand strong and that is how he will be remembered as a good player!

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  • 25. At 12:48pm on 13 Jan 2009, james wrote:

    England were ranked number 2 when Lara got 404...I was there and England won 3-0! It is certainly a greater innings than Hayden against an poor Zim side!

    He was flat track bully, a born again christian who was the worst sledger! He is disliked by EVERYONE in world cricket...apart from aussies! Symonds and Harbajan are poor seconds in dislike after Hayden!

    Like most English fans, I am gutted he retired...he would have been slaughtered by the saffers next month and England in the summer.

    The good thing is that Jacques and Rogers are good players but are injured or out of form...like most of the Aussie team!

    He was a good player but is not in Lara's or Tendulkar's class

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  • 26. At 12:48pm on 13 Jan 2009, A Hyena Joins wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 12:49pm on 13 Jan 2009, DJKendrick wrote:

    For a nation that still clings to the outdated idea that 40 is still the benchmark for a Test batsmen to speak ill of Hayden because he was an aggressive player who wasn't as attractive a batsman as Lara (who has?) is ludicrous.

    He averaged 50-plus and almost 44 in ODIs, which is superb. If he bothered to read these comments I hope he would be delighted that he got the opposition's back up so much, a sure sign that he did a real job for his country.

    England's only player to get near this average in the modern era is Pietersen and we have all decided not to like him any more! All our other batsmen are miles behind Hayden's achievements, despite many of them arguably being naturally more gifted players.

    Hayden should be acknowledged for the champion performer he was, rather than belittled for 'bullying' bowling attacks.

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  • 28. At 12:50pm on 13 Jan 2009, Icecold_00 wrote:

    Awesome batsman! I can't place it either Tom, always admired him but a combination of his attitude (not a bad one tbh), his country of birth (i am a englishman of Jamaican descent) and probably a bit of jealousy made me happy to see his wicket fall every time it did. His attitude is almost no different to that of KP's, i am a big fan of his, and many of the west indies quicks back in the day. Even Viv had a similar attitude. I suspect he is held in very high regard in Australia, but ever since his 380 (beating a west indians world record isn't good) i havn't really liked him. But that is the kind of irrational dislike sports fans are allowed. I would still have picked him as the best opener in the world for at least 13 out of the 17 seasons he played for. Very very good cricketer who's skill should not be underestimated. I suppose the true level of his ability should be measured by badly much opposition players and fans wanted him out (i never felt comfortable whilst he was at the wicket).

    Sam, Sweden

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  • 29. At 12:51pm on 13 Jan 2009, DavidBeckhamsBeard wrote:

    Good blog tom!

    I admire Hayden, he never seemed the most technical, or graceful in the mould of lara, tendulka et al.

    But I was always impressed with how he could bully almost any bowler on any surface, and i never realised how many runs he got in india in 2001, so with the average he hs retired with, and the honours he has won it makes him all the more impressive.

    I also agree with your sentiments that he will never be loved like the cricketers you mentioned, but, its probably in keeping with the type of cricketer he was, and i doubt he will give two hoots about whether the cricket world universally loved him or not!

    And i think it was the right time, he had a nasty injury and didn't look the same since.

    Despite being a pom, i'll miss him from cricket

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  • 30. At 12:51pm on 13 Jan 2009, aggersforcaptain wrote:

    Brilliant opener who never let the opposing bowlers get into the groove. Even though an Aussie I loved watching this guy bat. At the top of any sport you need absolute self belief which sometimes can over as being arrogant. With Harbajan he only said what evryone else thought; that guy could start an argument in an empty room.

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  • 31. At 12:53pm on 13 Jan 2009, Rob Davies wrote:

    I thought Hayden was an arogant bully before I travelled to Australia. Partly because that is how he was portrayted by the British media and partly because of the smug expression on his face.

    I then went to Australia and saw him a lot on TV dressed in pastel coloured shirts, smiling and talking about food and his faith (he is a Christian). I also learned that he has many good friends in the Austrlia squad, Langer and Symonds the closest.

    All this new information made me change my mind about him; I now think he is an 'arogant bully who wears girls colours and goes to church a lot'.

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  • 32. At 12:55pm on 13 Jan 2009, james wrote:

    Agree he is a good batsmen with a great average, not disputing that but he just comes across as an arrogant tw*t. I

    I wouldn't say that of the current aussie lot or hardly any other international cricketers.

    Anyway sad he's gone.....who is there to hate in world cricket now? He was a pantomins villan!

    Smith seesm to have re-invented himself but Harbajan and Symonds are good targets.

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  • 33. At 12:56pm on 13 Jan 2009, Original_Avatar wrote:

    I think he helped modern test cricket become more palatable to new cricket fans. Instead of mundane 2-3 runs a over he helped take the modern average above 4.
    Still I'm not sad he retired, he used intimidation get were he is rather than pure talent.

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  • 34. At 12:57pm on 13 Jan 2009, ya_dafty wrote:

    Winning not making friends or

    Winning with style and making friends.

    Only the ones with charisma can do the second.

    I think Hayden was respected and thought he was okay, certainly more of a gentleman when compared to other Aussies.

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  • 35. At 1:00pm on 13 Jan 2009, Glosballcarrier wrote:

    For the record, I'm a proud Pom.

    BUT Hang on... how many of the above people have actually MET Matty Hayden... you lot don't like his personality?!!! What experience have you actually had of it.

    The only thging we can comment on with authority was his batting and that was brilliant at times. I'm sad his career ended like this but I'm glad he had one and made Rod Marsh's comments look pretty foolish.

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  • 36. At 1:00pm on 13 Jan 2009, thebarmydon wrote:

    WalsallRobbo - I did not have the same as your experience when I went to Auz, but then again I did not watch TV when I was there (an opportunity obviously not missed).

    I have to agree with your comments about Hayden, withour reservation. A man that I find impossible to like or respect at all. Having Symonds as on of his closes mates probably confirms many things!

    Thank goodness we won't have to put up with his pathetic gum chewing not funny comments (from slip) this summer

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  • 37. At 1:00pm on 13 Jan 2009, gottwald wrote:

    Addicktum @ 26

    People are just giving opinions on sport - it's really not that important. If you find it difficult to deal with I'd keep your comments to yourself and seek a self esteem building course.

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  • 38. At 1:04pm on 13 Jan 2009, Rob wrote:

    Jamesisclass...what an ironically inappropriate name.

    You say Hayden was disliked by everyone in world cricket obviously showing you cannot read the posts that have gone before you. But then, if you are so short sighted that you think Hayden was nothing more than a bully maybe you have an excuse.

    Hayden's record as a batsman speaks for itself. Anyone who averages over 40 throughout 100 caps is seen to be a competent test player and to average over 50 is extraordinary. Add to that, he is probably one of the best slip fielders to spin bowling and your comments are just laughable.

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  • 39. At 1:04pm on 13 Jan 2009, waldinho1 wrote:

    The title of this blog is "Hugely respected, much admired... but loved?".

    The mostly Australian, I assume, contingent who are slagging Tom off for saying that Hayden wasn't a great or respected player quite frankly can't have that great a grasp of the English language. That Hayden is one of the greats isn't in question, only an idiot would question that his impact on test cricket over the last 10 years isn't up there with (altho not necessarily quite equal to in all cases) Tendulkar, Lara, Warne, Giles and Murali, amongst others.

    The question raised is his popularity around the world. And let's face it he's ruffled a few feathers. Whoever was in the right in the Harbajhan saga doesn't really matter, that the saga existed at all meant that most of the 2nd largest population in the world turned against him. When he failed in 2005 against English, it was enjoyed by cricket fans the country over because of the manner in which he had spoken prior to the series. And there's probably other gripes from other countries as well... he had a habit of getting at his opponents.

    I don't even think its about questioning his character or his personality. I suspect a large amount of what he said was designed with a purpose, and while it may have seemed misguided to those on the outside at time and misfired on occasion, who's to say there wasn't a greater purpose?

    And in the end, we should really only judge him on one thing: runs. And as an opening batsman, there have been none better.

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  • 40. At 1:06pm on 13 Jan 2009, Toe2Toe wrote:

    Hayden had a job to do and did it to the best of his ability and for his country.

    His record speaks for itself.

    If he got under the opposition's skin then they allowed him to!

    Happy retirement.

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  • 41. At 1:06pm on 13 Jan 2009, SaoPaoloPaulo wrote:

    Have to agree with the Aus view of Hayden being a winner and our lack of this attitude holding us back (something which seems to apply to all sports, with few exceptions).

    He plays sport, the personality thing, thats a side issue, I doubt Hayden really cares whether you like him or not, and I bet he greatly enjoyed being a winner.

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  • 42. At 1:07pm on 13 Jan 2009, grandchien wrote:

    14 & 37 gottwald : proper banker

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  • 43. At 1:08pm on 13 Jan 2009, Dan wrote:

    Blimey Tom, that's a bit strong.

    I for one have always loved watching Hayden bat (apart from against us - apart from in 2005!), because of the no nonsense way he went about his business.

    At his peak three or four years ago, you could see a bowling attack sink as soon as he walked to the crease, with his big chest puffed out.

    Yes, he's been waning recently, but that shouldn't change the fact that when Australia were credited for changing the Test game from a 2 - 2.5 runs per over bore-a-thon to one where 400 runs in a day became commonplace, Hayden was at the forefront of that.

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  • 44. At 1:09pm on 13 Jan 2009, AndyPlowright wrote:

    Neil Harvey is quite renowned for being a miserable old whiner in his old age. Malcolm Marshall's autobiography states a case in which Border used a racially abusive term during a match. Yet it's Matt Hayden who is tainted as the big bad man.

    I don't consider him a great in the manner of a Lara or Tendulkar. Undoubtedly he filled his boots against some very weak opposition attacks with the added bonus of never facing the two legends in Mcgrath and Warne. he was a very fine player though, of that there can be no doubt, who ably demonstrated how far sheer strength of mind could take you.

    His comments on the 'obnoxious little weed' were spot on.

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  • 45. At 1:13pm on 13 Jan 2009, lalaloon wrote:

    The article is titled Hugely respected, much admired... but loved?

    The answer has to be Yes, Yes, No.

    A great batsman who made the most of his ability and had the desire and will to win that we the English could learn from. He played to his strengths, and bullied opening bowlers. Nothing wrong with that. Opening bowler will bully any batsman given half a chance.

    However, as a person he is too mouthy, too arrogant, too contradictory and lacking humility. There is nothing wrong with faith in the Lord but deciding when and where to follow that faith makes you open to calls of hypocrisy.

    Regarding his opinions of Harbajan, shouldn't he just turn the other cheek?

    Truly great players win over cricket fans across the globe, not just those from their own country. Sachin, Viv Richards, Richard Hadlee, Sunil Gavaskar won and lost with humility. An emotion Hayden couldn't even spell.

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  • 46. At 1:14pm on 13 Jan 2009, Bluebird Bill wrote:

    I have a great deal of begrudging respect for his achievements. What sports fan wouldn't?

    But I think I can summarise why people took a dislike to him quite simply. All things considered, he was just a little too Australian.

    Most Aussies are great and display an endearing competitiveness and traits where you can get into enjoyable banter, but Hayden was just a bit too Australian for anyone to like him or love him.

    To those that have said "so what, his stats speak for themselves", you're absolutely right, but Tom isn't questioning whether or not he was successful (there's no question that he was) - read the title.

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  • 47. At 1:15pm on 13 Jan 2009, seanmichaels wrote:

    Quality Batsmen and even as an avid England fan I am sad that he was perhaps the final surviving member of the great Australian team's core to retire.

    In terms of character I have no qualms. The great Aussies of the last couple of decades always talked a good game but in the rarity of defeat were good enough to handle it with grace. The England and Australian team were often reported to share beers in the changing rooms post play (during the ashes of 2005) and Flintoff's autobiography mentioned Hayden to be a likeable character.

    Your criticism for the Harbajhan spat is unjust. The 'weed' could clearly start a fight in an empty room and I only wish he'd have taken up the Haydens' invitation to settle it in the ring. Unlike the great Aussies the current Indian unit enjoy the status of a premier league footballer and have adopted the same prima donna like status.

    Hayden will be sadly missed but hopefully we will see him here this summer in a commentary rule. His frank opinions would make interesting viewing

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  • 48. At 1:19pm on 13 Jan 2009, shoeson wrote:

    Australia has a three Test in South Africa prior to the five Ashes Tests. Given his current runs tally, Hayden would need to score 675 more runs to guarantee he could retire at the end of the Ashes series with an average of 50. Across a probable sixteen innings, this equates to an average of 42.19 - well in excess of his average from the last two test series against SA and India.

    Hayden unquestionably has an ego and I wouldn't be surprised if his decision to retire now was driven in part by that ego - how many cricketing "greats" retired with an average in excess of 50? But should his ego make us respect him any less?

    I remember the 1st test at Edgbaston in the 2001 Ashes - a last wicket stand of 103 between Stewart and Caddick had lifted the crowd and raised the hope that this might be a tightly contested Ashes series. An hour later Hayden was out having blasted 35 from 41 balls (including one huge 6) in an opening stand of 98 that pretty much put us back in our place.

    It was Hayden at his brutal best and demonstrates how important his role was to the Aussie team. The fact that he can choose when he retires and has a wealth of records and victories to dine out on for the rest of his life says more for his character than a perception that he isn't "loved" as much as certain other cricketers.

    Perhaps this discussion is less about a perceived affection held for other cricketers and more a residing jealously of the Aussie success he played such an important part in?

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  • 49. At 1:23pm on 13 Jan 2009, SomersetJord wrote:

    The only reason Matty Hayden isn't as fondly remembered as Warney is his inability to be self deprecating.
    Warney would poke fun at everyone, but he also had no problem poking fun at himself as well which endeared him to most fans, Hayden doesn't have that 'cheeky chappy' sense of humour, and even if he does have a sense of humour he doesn't let others see it so all anyone sees is an aggressive, egotistical person who treats their favourite players with utter disregard, you can't help but respect him but you also hate him for it.
    Whereas Warney likes to have a laugh, he wears his heart on his sleeve and is engraciating, accepting defeat with humility.
    Which means you not only respect him, but you love him too. If Haydos had've been a more open person i'm sure the cricketing world would have accepted him as they did the other greats.

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  • 50. At 1:24pm on 13 Jan 2009, Jim wrote:

    Enjoy your retirement Matty. Enjoy reading the comments above and have a great laugh!

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  • 51. At 1:24pm on 13 Jan 2009, mm wrote:

    Yeah he has a good record and was a good batsman for his country but had more brawns than brains and that often showed in his comments and demeanour on and off the pitch. He was a total hypocrite as a person and his self belief came from demeaning other players and calling names like an immature bully, you just don't expect that kind of behaviour at International level of any sport. That's the reason he is not looked up and respected as other players outside Australia and it's hardly surprising that Australians would applaud his achievement...he'd have to be pretty obnoxious for that not to happen.

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  • 52. At 1:25pm on 13 Jan 2009, shawster77 wrote:

    Any guy that can play over 100 tests and still carry an average of over 50 deserves repect. Look at how is average compares to several other long-standing openers; it knocks spots off those of Gooch, Boycott, Atherton, Langer, Greenidge, Taylor, Haynes, Kirsten and Fleming... to name but a few in the top 50 test run scorers. Sure he could appear arrogant, stood there intently chewing his gum at slip, but the man could bat - even if he did it his way "in the V". I'm sure Shane Warne was grateful for his presence at first slip once or twice too.

    As an Englishman, I am certainly not sad to see the back of Matthew Hayden. As a cricket fan, I most certainly am...

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  • 53. At 1:25pm on 13 Jan 2009, lalaloon wrote:

    Shoeson,

    your final comment is a joke. Most of the comments on here praise Hayden's ability as a batsman but criticise him as a man. Hence the title of the blog.

    Also, I'm sure batsmen don't work out what their future scores need to be in order to retire with and average above 50.

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  • 54. At 1:27pm on 13 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    The guy was a winner. As a Pom I'm happy to see him go and spend more time with his cooking!

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  • 55. At 1:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, jasonthebigfella wrote:

    Hayden was (and this hurts me to say this) a modern great... but his bullish, proud (read arrogant) deameanor and his general aloof contempt of the opposition endeared him to very view outside of Australia...
    Statistically he was second to none as an Aussie Test opener and was much revered & loved... Justin Langer, another modern great, was a battler and all round good guy but the Australian public never took him to their hearts... mmm, I have to feel they aren't the best judges of character...
    Hayden with the exception of Ponting was the last member of the great Aussie team of the last twelve years or so... will he be missed? Definitely...
    However the only sure thing now is that the Aussies will be strenghtened by his omission for the Ashes judging by his recent form... damn!!!
    Enjoy your retirement Matthew!

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  • 56. At 1:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tony Torrance wrote:

    Lets not kid ourselves.

    Hayden was an average player in medicore times.

    His best scores were made against average attacks and when he faced a genuine top class attack he was nowhere like 2005 and 2008/9.

    Anyone who talks of Hayden in the same breadth as the genuinely great openers like Boycott, Gooch, Greenidge and Haynes is insulting these genuinely great players.

    I am no fan of a player whose career has be formed against so many weak sides over the last decade.

    Sorry

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  • 57. At 1:30pm on 13 Jan 2009, jazza0707 wrote:

    Being and England fan and not having much to shout about, i think Hayden calling Harbijan an "obnoxious little weed" was the highlight of my year!

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  • 58. At 1:30pm on 13 Jan 2009, frostyrensie wrote:

    Hayden was a great batsman, BUT, like Ponting, never had to face McGrath or Warne in a Test. That leaves some question marks over his TRUE ABILITY. As far as the sledging goes, the Aussies took this to a totally unacceptable level. You must NEVER become personal in your sledging, or as it used to be called in the gentleman days, chirping. It was a fine and subtle art to never actually speak directly to the batsman but just past him to distract him and get into his mind. I was amased that nobody actually at some stage did not put a cricket bat sideways through an Aussie mouth !!

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  • 59. At 1:32pm on 13 Jan 2009, Ludwigs Lughole wrote:

    44. At 1:09pm on 13 Jan 2009, AndyPlowright wrote:

    I don't consider him a great in the manner of a Lara or Tendulkar. Undoubtedly he filled his boots against some very weak opposition attacks with the added bonus of never facing the two legends in Mcgrath and Warne.


    ----------------------------

    So to be clear, you're disregarding him as a great because he never faced two of the best test bowlers in history that were his team mates in one of the most successful teams in history?

    Hopefully, you see the ridiculousness of such a statement? It's like belittling Lara's achievements because he never faced Ambrose and Walsh!!!!

    Personally, I think Hayden epitomised that team. Spikey, chippy, bloody minded, bully. Hated them, but they won everything. Oh, how I would love England to be like them, show an unbreakable spirit.

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  • 60. At 1:36pm on 13 Jan 2009, Sepo_efc wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 61. At 1:38pm on 13 Jan 2009, xxxCORRECTxxx wrote:

    I'm English and I loved the way he plays.

    Give me a thumper like Hayden over some effeminate nurdler every time.

    I'm not surprised they don't like him - the English "traditionalists" or "purists" or whatever English cricket watchers who never play the game but think it's at its best when 2 men and a dog watch a county game ebb to a slow draw want to call themselves.

    The fact we don't rate Hayden (except grudgingly on stats alone) is the very reason why we never put together 3 decent 50-over performances, why we'll take 50 years to win a Twenty20 tournament (and never admit its the dominant format even when the evidence will be overwhelming) and it's the reason why (leaving the 2005 Ashes off the table) our approach to Test cricket is stodgy and falling behind the times.

    If only we did rate Hayden higher I'd hold out more hope for English cricket's future.

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  • 62. At 1:41pm on 13 Jan 2009, SuperStrikerShivam wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 63. At 1:44pm on 13 Jan 2009, pel_bach wrote:

    His stats speak for themselves, and being arguably one of the greatest opening batsmen of all-time - he retirement is a loss to the game surely? Only those supporting the opposition will be glad that Hayden is no longer marching out to rough them up a little.

    With a more graceful stroke he wouldnt be far off Viv Richards. But everyone loves Viv, although on the pitch he showed more contempt for the bowlers than possibly anyone. Hayden did the same, just not quite with the charm and swagger. But then he's a batsman, and let his cricket alone do the talking. His Harbhajan comments were well made - a thoroughly dislikeable character..

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  • 64. At 1:44pm on 13 Jan 2009, mikeeboy wrote:

    To us Poms, he was a "typical Aussie".

    Arrogant, smug and arrogant. Sterotypical maybe, but true.

    Great player though, and unless he wants to be a captain on A Question of Sport that's all that counts really.

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  • 65. At 1:44pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tim in Marlow wrote:

    Re Post #59:

    "Hopefully, you see the ridiculousness of such a statement? It's like belittling Lara's achievements because he never faced Ambrose and Walsh!!!!"

    The statement is NOT ridiculous "as any fule kno" - or at least any serious follower of cricket. It's quite legitimate (and in fact common) to conjecture that a batsman's record should be in some way 'discounted' relative to those of his contemporaries, if during the time that they were all playing, he happened to have a fearsome attack as his team-mates.

    The point is that had Warne, McGrath et al been playing for (say) India, Tendulkar wouldn't have been able to face them (such that his record would probably have been even better) whereas Hayden WOULD (ergo his record would likely have been poorer)

    Clearly this is just a way of 'weighting' performances, precisely in the way that rankings and ratings systems attempt to achieve, and as such it is a perfectly sensible contribution to the debate.

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  • 66. At 1:46pm on 13 Jan 2009, gkarthy wrote:

    //
    Hugely respected, much admired... but loved? //

    Yes, Hes loved a lot.. I am an indian and i love him than any other Aussi player for his character.

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  • 67. At 1:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, Put The Kettle On wrote:

    Pretty disappointed to see a column like this on the day a legend retires.
    Make no mistake that is exactly what he is.

    He may not be loved because of his intimidating aggresive style, but that's because most have us have only seen him on the pitch.
    Having lived in Australia I have seen the loveable larakin that he is, and the reason he is loved by all in Australia.

    He may not be as quite the humble, modest sportsman that is stereotyped, but at the end of the day sportsmen aren't their to make friends, they are their to do their country proud and that is exactly what he did time and time again.

    The people who say he is mediocre or overrated are kidding themselves. If he was English you would all be saying he is one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

    Yes he has scored a lot of runs against weak opposition, but who hasn't? He was also made great bowling attacks look second rate.

    Any opening batsman with an average over 50 and 30 test match hundreds deserves to go down as a legend.

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  • 68. At 1:53pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tom Fordyce wrote:

    Good reasoning/banter/argument from all concerned - this is developing nicely...

    One thing I didn't mention was Hayden's one-day record. That 66-ball ton against South Africa at the start of the last World Cup (completed with a fractured foot) even earned him honorary St Kitts citizenship - so maybe one tiny corner of the non-Aussie world did love him, after all...

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  • 69. At 1:54pm on 13 Jan 2009, RugbyRugbyRugby wrote:

    He is definately an all time great, you cant scorethat many runs and centuries, at that average and be anything else.

    Fair enough at times he was a bit of a flat track bully and showed some weaknesses but then so do most people at some stage. But he had to be more than that as he just wouldnt have had the career he has otherwise.

    I always enjoyed watching him play and he will be missed(especially by the Aussies).

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  • 70. At 1:58pm on 13 Jan 2009, bigcrickfan wrote:

    Good player in a great team but it's difficult to say he was one of the truly great players himself. I'd still rather have him in my side than any of the English batsmen of his era other than Vaughan.

    He was always a superb example to give to young cricketers when trying to coach and explain how Ian Bell may look pretty but Hayden's results are far better.

    All Aussies get under the skin of all Poms, so I'm going to say he really annoyed me and he was not likeable. Take it as a back handed compliment.

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  • 71. At 2:00pm on 13 Jan 2009, stu330 wrote:

    A fine player.
    Up there with haynes and Greenidge, barry richards and len hutton as the best openers the game has ever seen.

    Yes, as an Englishman, I hated Hayden, from his aggression and arrogance, to his rubbish nickname (Haydos!?). But no one can deny that he was good.

    How often did he go in to bat and put the game out of sight of the opposition. From Nassers riddiculous decision to bowl in 2002 in Brisbane, where he hit a big centuries in each innings, to his amazing world cup in 2007 where he hit 3 centuries and the Aussies won with ease.

    This shows the talent of the man, both in test and one day cricket.

    Flat track bully? Sometimes.
    Arrogant and obnoxious? when he needed to be.
    Winner? Certainly.
    Someone you would want in your side over the last ten years? Absolutely and unequivocally yes.

    History will increase crickets fondness of Hayden, and in time all the things we hated about him will diminish. And when it does, we will be left with a player who made runs against every major cricket nation by the boat load, in all forms of the game and won every trophy available in the process.

    Good luck to you Haydos, I expect that now you will become a great commentator and ambassador for the game and prove that you were a much better bloke than we all took you for.

    cheers.

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  • 72. At 2:03pm on 13 Jan 2009, Crazy Monkey Mayhem wrote:

    I couldn't agree more with the points raised. Undoubted ability, all the class of roadkill.

    The point of the article is that he will be remembered, but probably for all the wrong things. Same as Ponting and probably MacGrath.

    Despite the fact that Shane Warne ripped us (England) to shreds on far too many occasions I still think he was a true legend, and that's something Hayden never will be. Justin Langer was a great player I was sad to see retire.

    MacGrath was a terrible sport too, but Brett Lee will be better remembered outside Australia for his humble attitude and great sportsmanship.

    I fully accept Hayden was a great player, but at the same time very few non-Aussies will be sad to see him go. Just a bit gutted Freddie wont get to show him up and shut him up one last time!!

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  • 73. At 2:03pm on 13 Jan 2009, tombowla wrote:

    gotta say - i agree with the dissenters to your article here tom.

    success at Haydens level [2nd most successful opening partnership in history etc etc] comes from a mix of so many things, of which likeability is NOT one.

    too many [british] sportsmen seem to see their sporting career as a mere launch pad to their potential 2nd career as a celebrity that they actually lose an edge to the ultimate competitve grittiness that b*ggers like Hayden have.

    Oh to have a couple of Hayden's in our current Cricket and Football teams (rugby - you are not far behind...) who are there to provide SPINE AND CHARACTER when the team is in trouble.

    I'd eat my shorts if someone like Hayden ever turned up on "Strictly" or the equivalent. I wouldn't risk that for any current England players - especially the most recent ex-Captain.....

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  • 74. At 2:09pm on 13 Jan 2009, AndyPlowright wrote:

    Beethoven’s left ear:

    No, I am not disregarding Hayden as a great purely because he didn’t face McGrath and Warne. You mention Lara being belittled as he never faced Walsh and Ambrose as a comparison. As comparisons, go, they are very poor ones. Lara went to Sri Lanka and stood alone against Murali. He did likewise against Australia in the West Indies and scored runs against the best home and away. He went to South Africa and scored runs. Lara dominated the best attacks in a way that Hayden did not always do.

    Hayden is one of those very good players who, like Kallis, don’t fall into the great category. Ponting right now isn’t a great. Graeme Smith might well become a great based on his strength of mind in pressure situations as we have seen twice in the last calendar year during the last innings of the match.

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  • 75. At 2:09pm on 13 Jan 2009, HibsSense wrote:

    Jamesisclass

    ''He was a good player but is not in Lara's or Tendulkar's class''


    Im struggling to think of anyone that is in their class. Sir Viv? Sir Garfield? The Don?
    Those players are simply genius in the history of the game, the once in a generation sort.

    Hayden was head and shoulders above most of the worlds openers during his career. I couldnt care less if he appeared arrogant or cocky. An average of +50 says it all to me. I sense a lot of hypocritical England and India fans jumping on the bandwagon. I prefer Hayden to H.Singh or Pietersen in terms of character any day of the week.

    He will be missed. Good luck Haydos!

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  • 76. At 2:13pm on 13 Jan 2009, RhysoSP wrote:

    Hayden is a fantastic player. Sadly his recent lack of form is unacceptable by the incredibly high and justifiable standards that are set in Australian sport.

    I think he has been innovative in the way he has approached opening the innings although not revolutionary. Many openers in the past have been able to take the attack to the new ball. However i do not believe that opposition opening bowlers have been more intimidated by any other opening batsmen. Sehwags present form excluded perhaps.

    With regards to his off field comments and perceived arrogance. I believe some have crossed the line into unsporting behaviour but when all is said and done he has always backed up his comments and persona with excellent performances.

    I think it is another loss to the game of cricket, there are not too many players anymore who people "go to watch" and Hayden was at least someone who fell into that catagory.

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  • 77. At 2:14pm on 13 Jan 2009, Andy Skinner wrote:

    He was unpopular because of his arrogance and aggression on the field - which doesn't sit well with his supposedly strong religious beliefs. However, if he were English we would have overlooked those faults.
    You need different characters to make a great team, and the Aussies will be poorer for his absence.

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  • 78. At 2:20pm on 13 Jan 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Hey, he WAS a flat track bully - and with a face that made you want to smack it.
    Hey, I also was so glad when lara overtook his score, at least a real class batsman got the record in the end.
    Hey, he WAS arrogant, smug, stupid and brainless with a face like a smacked 4rse, but then again, he was an Aussie, 'nuff said.

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  • 79. At 2:20pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tom Fordyce wrote:

    Just had a sneak preview of the piece Justin Langer's written for the site about his old mate - a unique and splendid addition to this debate.

    I'll post a link to it when it goes up on the main Beeb site in the next hour, but I think you'll like it a lot - gives an insight that no-one else could...

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  • 80. At 2:21pm on 13 Jan 2009, sussexpob wrote:

    Arrogant and big headed?

    Is this the same Hayden who is a well known Roman Catholic, who uses a pink bat handle to show support for cancer victims, who has been an ambassador for World Youth day, etc etc etc......

    The only thing i got from this blog is that Tom Fordyces knowledge of Hayden was probably researched from Wikipedia 10 minutes before he posted it.

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  • 81. At 2:28pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tim in Marlow wrote:

    Re Sussexpob's post #80:

    "Is this the same Hayden who is a well known Roman Catholic, who uses a pink bat handle to show support for cancer victims, who has been an ambassador for World Youth day, etc etc etc......

    The only thing i got from this blog is that Tom Fordyces knowledge of Hayden was probably researched from Wikipedia 10 minutes before he posted it."

    The irony of your post is that all of the points you made have been lifted straight from Wikipedia! Hello Mr Pot, my name is Mr Kettle.......

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  • 82. At 2:31pm on 13 Jan 2009, hes_a_victorian wrote:

    Hayden relentlessly battered all bowling attacks around Australia for years before finally establishing himself as a regular in the test team. Time and again he was told that he wouldn't make it (he had many doubters in Australia in his early career), but it was Matty's belief in his own ability (and his ability itself) to dominate bowling attacks that made him the greatest opener of this generation.

    Am sad to see the end of one of the greatest test batsmen to have played the game, but the signs this summer showed that it was time to retire (the feet looked a bit heavier in the crease than in years gone by).

    His domination of India in 2001, his incredible test form after a somewhat disappointing 2005 Ashes series, his domination of the the one day game in 2007 and the 2007 WC and his consistency (for 5 consecutive years he scored over 1000 test runs per year) demonstrate his class.

    He's a very generous and charitable guy off the field as well, which probably wasn't reported in the English media. He does a lot of charity work and gives up of his precious time to help many worthy causes.

    By the way, Jacques is just back from injury and Rogers is absolutely in top form at first class level and there's a highly rated and talented 20 year old NSW opener by the name of Phil Hughes who already has 3 hundreds this season as well, who might just jump the queue for the tour of South Africa and the Ashes later this year (incidentally he's already signed for Durham this English summer).

    The future looks bright.

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  • 83. At 2:36pm on 13 Jan 2009, The Holy Hooker wrote:

    Agree 100%

    If you're true fan of a sport you have to admire and respect the great achievers - and this we accord to Hayden.

    What we give only to a chosen few is our affection - and that's usually sparked by charisma in the sportsperson themselves.

    Hayden is many things, and probably a really nice bloke off the cricket field, but charismatic? Naaaaaah........

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  • 84. At 2:36pm on 13 Jan 2009, Max wrote:

    i will remember hayden as a sledger first. he will never be in the class of the 'greats', cuz he was never well behaved on field. excuses such as 'hes there to win, not make friends etc' is pure BS.. Every cricketer out there goes to win.

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  • 85. At 2:45pm on 13 Jan 2009, Graeme Edgar wrote:

    I am not sure whether i agree with this or not, especially as we have just seen KP dismissed for having some crazy idea about winning instead of making cosy with the ECB, but i for one will miss Hayden. He was the pantomime villain, chewing, as my friend once noted, a newspaper. Think of all the spats with England players, Simon Jones chucking the ball at him, Colly and him nearly coming to fisticuffs, him battering us everywhere in Brisbane when Jones went down injured. He won his fair share of battles with England but the ones he lost exposed a weakness which never really went away. thats a mark of respect for the 05 Ashes attack and for Hayden - he seemed invincible/immortal for so long and we should bow to that, what is a sportsman if they dont hint at the impossible?

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  • 86. At 2:45pm on 13 Jan 2009, Rouginton wrote:

    Well played Hayden. I hate to say it but as a true Englishman I could only watch and admire the way he went about his business at the top of the order, bullying and ripping apart the best bowlers in the world. Who cares if he wasn't likeable, he wasn't getting paid to be, just to set up and help win matches for Australia which he did very very well. The fact that every test nation apart from the whinging Aussies (I have to give some banter) loved to hate just shows how good he was as an opener. In today’s sport fans boo Ronaldo, Dan Carter etc because we know how destructive they can. The same was for Hayden.

    Why did his team mates love him? Because he set the tone to their batting whether in reply or setting a first innings. Home or away, he took the game to the opposition in a way no other batsmen in the world could do. Ponting, McGrath also know that if there was someone who needed to be sorted out (Singh - and he is a little weed) Hayden would be the first and not lie down.

    Test av over 50. What does the man need to do? Pure quality I say, and I'll miss booing the miserable bastard next summer.

    The Aussies loved him and we loved to hate him. From a sports purist, thank you and well played (from Hampshire CC).

    Now i am only laughing as Pontings mates depart all around him and there isn't much bowling coming through. HAH HAH AHAHAHAH

    Bring on the Ashes!

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  • 87. At 2:46pm on 13 Jan 2009, uccjal wrote:

    As a player I thought Hayden was a bully and arrogant and showed little, if any, humilty to opposition players. These are the reasons I disliked him.

    But....

    Had he been English I'd have absolutely loved him and the way he played the game!

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  • 88. At 2:48pm on 13 Jan 2009, eddobrandes wrote:

    unlucky haydos..cant all be legends mate x

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  • 89. At 2:56pm on 13 Jan 2009, Moutarde wrote:

    Probably the most over-rated and disliked batsman in the world.

    His biggest “achievement” by a long, long distance, was to be in the same team as Warne and McGrath.

    Arrogant, boorish, hypocritical and over-rated - whenever he came up against a quality quick (Ambrose, Donald, Flintoff, Steyn, etc) he was found wanting.

    He played in 13 innings against the Windies before Courtney Walsh retired following Curtly of course and in 8 of them he scored 30 or less, and against the South Africans while Donald was still playing, it was 8 from 12.

    I'm sure the same would have been the case if Australia had faced Akhtar in Pakistan and I think his performances against Freddie and Steyn are still fresh enough in the mind to not worry about those stats.

    That said, I am sorry to see him go, I was looking forward to seeing him dragging his knuckles off the field with less than 10 on the board for Australia several times this summer.

    I'll remember him as a flat-track bully who dished it out for 15 years and as soon as the Indians gave some back, went running to teacher.

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  • 90. At 2:58pm on 13 Jan 2009, Ray Dio Carter wrote:

    Good cricketer. Horrible man.

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  • 91. At 2:58pm on 13 Jan 2009, arundini wrote:

    BiggTiny, the point is that he WAS hugely respected as you say (that is the heading of the Blog) but the issue the blog raises is why he did not inspire more warmth or affection like a Warne, a Lara - whoever.

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  • 92. At 3:03pm on 13 Jan 2009, nealdeal wrote:

    Personally I was very pleased to hear that Hayden had retired from international cricket today. In the past he has bullied and bludgeoned his way to centuries and torn teams apart from the outset, so you can see why so many people have an opinion on him.

    Saying that though he is an opening batsman and as Michael Slater always said "the job of the opener is to take the shine off the ball" which he has done on many occasions.

    How many people were glad to see the back of Glenn McGrath? I'm sure the same goes for Hayden... They were both intense on the field but seem like nice blokes off the field.

    The question is what now for Australia??? They have lost their two openers whom were ultra succesful... Englands ashes in 2009???

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  • 93. At 3:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, Oxfordnewshound wrote:

    A good batsman, but also a sanctimonious hypocrite. The rest of the world has to make sure it can deal with his kind of bully-boy tactics - fair point. Do we have to like him as well? No. Good riddance.

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  • 94. At 3:52pm on 13 Jan 2009, emperorstev wrote:

    Totally disagree with this article, I loved watching Hayden bat, he was an amazing player - and that is what he should be judged on, not his personality. I think it's pretty sad that a legend of the game retires and all he gets is - 'yeah he was a great player but he's a billy no mates and no one in the whole world likes him, hahaha.'

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  • 95. At 3:55pm on 13 Jan 2009, Weagles wrote:

    It says a lot about his (and his team's) dominance that even on the day of his retirement so many can't set aside their petty bitterness.

    Sour grapes from poor losers.

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  • 96. At 4:00pm on 13 Jan 2009, sussexpob wrote:

    haveronjones...


    The point im trying to make is the blog is quite ridiculous. It focused on trashy areas of a truly gifted cricketers career and ignored the fact that Hayden was a great cricketer.

    It also assumes that most people didnt like hayden, which is nonsensical, especially if you speak to your average aussie cricket fan.

    There is hardly any anaylsis of his contribution to a great aussie team, just a load of tripe about his attitude.

    Much the same as his wikipedia article! Its bad journalism

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  • 97. At 4:01pm on 13 Jan 2009, G_K___ wrote:

    Yeah, he was definitely a bully, and lacked class as a man.

    He also lacked class as a batsman, as anyone with an eye for technique that extends beyond mere stats will testify.

    However, I'm at a loss to understand why some feel his aggressive, bullying, dominant-submissive mindset to be at odds with his religious beliefs.

    Roman Catholicism is the most authoritarian, hierarchical major religion in the world today. If it played cricket, it would play exactly like Matty Hayden.

    Good riddance to him.

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  • 98. At 4:09pm on 13 Jan 2009, Moutarde wrote:

    "Sour grapes from poor losers." If the comments came from the Indians and Bangladeshis who were regularly on the receiving end when Hayden was batting, I could understand the sour grapes comments, but against England he was pony.

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  • 99. At 4:16pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tom Fordyce wrote:

    Here's the Langer piece I mentioned earlier - very much worth a pop:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/other_international/australia/7826745.stm

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  • 100. At 4:18pm on 13 Jan 2009, simple_human wrote:

    As good a player as Hayden was, we all know what the Aussies do on the field, which to sledge and all the other nonsense, only an Australian side is capable of. So, when I read comments like, "he let the bat do the talking" alone has to be taken with a BIG pinch of salt. He was a good batsman no doubt but would not rate the best opening batsman or a legend etc... these superlatives somehow do not sit well on the shoulders of Hayden however broad they may be....

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  • 101. At 4:22pm on 13 Jan 2009, sussexpob wrote:

    "Sour grapes from poor losers." If the comments came from the Indians and Bangladeshis who were regularly on the receiving end when Hayden was batting, I could understand the sour grapes comments, but against England he was pony"


    Excellent analysis.

    Hayden averaged 30 in 4 tests v Bangladesh

    In 20 tests v England he averaged 46.... pretty decent really and hardly Pony at all.

    In contrast Michael Vaughan has been lauded in his ashes performances with 10 tests @ 47.95 per innings.

    With only one run per innings more how can one be successful and the other a pony?

    @ T.Fordyce.....Langers article was much more generous than yours!

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  • 102. At 4:24pm on 13 Jan 2009, MrGrinch-Champion of the Middle Saxons wrote:

    Sometimes being a Sportsmans is more than accruing the best stats and figures.

    G

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  • 103. At 4:28pm on 13 Jan 2009, SwingingAxeman wrote:

    You can't argue with Hayden's record as a batsman. He is one of the great openers.

    But he seemed a revolting human being. How does one reconcile his (supposedly) deeply held Christianity and his poisonous sledging?

    His sneering mean-spiritedness towards those who beat the Aussies stands out more than his batting.

    There are those who defend his behaviour by saying that it was not incumbent on Hayden to make friends. Strange that they don't extend this same graciousness to Harbhajan Singh.

    Hayden's retirement means cricket has lost a fantastic batsman. But still, good riddance to bad rubbish.


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  • 104. At 4:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, Weagles wrote:

    "His sneering mean-spiritedness towards those who beat the Aussies stands out more than his batting."

    Because your own mean-spiritedness means you need to focus on the negative. Perhaps if you could take defeat a little better you might be able to open that other eye.

    Again, on the day of his retirement you would expect at least some grace from his detractors instead it is yet another forum to express a hypocritical condemnation of Australians.

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  • 105. At 4:51pm on 13 Jan 2009, Mitchell Inman wrote:

    #39 - That Hayden is one of the greats isn't in question, only an idiot would question that his impact on test cricket over the last 10 years isn't up there with (altho not necessarily quite equal to in all cases) Tendulkar, Lara, Warne, Giles and Murali, amongst others.

    Well, I'm sure Ashley Giles will be more than flattered to be in such elevated company! The "King of Spain" seems to have a knack for being promoted way beyond anything his performances would suggest. (Ok, frivolous I know; I assume you meant Gilchrist.)

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  • 106. At 4:52pm on 13 Jan 2009, Warwickshirelalala wrote:

    Some of the posters suggest that Hayden scored a disproportionate number of runs against weak opposition. While he did superbly against Zimbabwe in 2003 (2 matches, 2 hundreds, one of them rather big!), he has a relatively poor record against Bangladesh (4 matches, 168 runs, high score 72, average 33.60).

    If you take these 2 opponents out of his stats he still has an average of 48.81. Which is rather good for an opener!

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  • 107. At 4:56pm on 13 Jan 2009, offside flanker wrote:

    Like it or not, in this era of professional sportsmen, there are less cricketers who might be considered gentlemen. Whether this is due to immense pressure, money on offer or whatever is open to debate. Pieterson may be one example.

    Hayden was a very good player and made the most of his talent. Hayden did not have subtlety or cheekiness in his jibes against other nations' cricketers unlike Warne, and I agree that this may be one reason why he does not have the same admiration and fondness in the hearts of non-Aussie cricket fans. On the field, although an excellent batsman he did not seem to be the gentleman that many cricket fans would have hoped he might be.

    However, it seems that few of us know what he was like off the field (excluding a couple of comments made off the field, ie about Singh), and he may well argue that without possessing a belligerent and mean streak on the field then he would not have been the good player that he was.

    Whatever his perceived failings as a 'sporting' sportsman, he was an Australian test success, all he ever desired to be and that should be applauded.

    (Can't help thinking that Hayden and his Australian teammates would love this article, knowing that he got under the skins of us 'whingeing poms' so well, and that he could therefore retire happy)

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  • 108. At 5:02pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tim in Marlow wrote:

    @ Weagles (post 104):

    "On the day of his retirement you would expect at least some grace from his detractors"

    If the guy had himself shown an ounce of grace toward opposing cricketers, this would be fair comment. But oh dear, he hasn't. Whoops!

    If you choose to live by the sword, you also have to be prepared to die by the sword......

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  • 109. At 5:04pm on 13 Jan 2009, spursbath wrote:

    Why is everyone whinging about his sledging - in the England team we have Collingwood, Piterson and Flintoff eho never shut up ...the only difference being that they do it with a smile on thier face because perhaps they are worried about their popularity rating?!!!!

    Like it or not sledging is part of the game, and whilst Tendulker and Lara didn't get as involved in this area - neither played in a team that was successful enough to have anything to chirp about....

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  • 110. At 5:21pm on 13 Jan 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    It may be in his style of batting or may have been the disdain he emitted towards the opposing bowlers, the bowlers invariably hated him so intensely that they always loved to bark him out. An effective, workmanlike opener for Australia, Hayden had personality flaws that caught up with his performance on the field sooner than he expected. Other outstanding batsmen of his time like Greenidge, Lara, Tendulkar, Richards never seemed to have this obnoxious trait.

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  • 111. At 5:24pm on 13 Jan 2009, spursbath wrote:

    Lets be honest perhaps Sir Viv had other 'medicinal' means of staying relaxed...

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  • 112. At 5:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, sussexpob wrote:

    Cant say that i thought hayden was a bad sledger?

    Indeed any englishman who shows objecting to sledging would be very hypocritical.

    I can remember a certain Collingwood shoulder barging hayden in a odi and Simon Jones having a wild throw at the stumps which hit hayden on the shoulder.... he was within his ground so there could be no excuse there. The english media turned it on hayden when he reacted badly....as ponting said at the time he had every right to be upset and i do believe it was left for simon jones to apologise

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  • 113. At 5:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, vishnoi wrote:

    good batsman yes
    tough opponent sure
    legend I am not too sure , sixth best does not make him one
    aggressive style of game fantastic!
    publicly calls the bowler who has dismissed him the most number of times 'obnoxious weed'
    I dont know what to call that! wouldnt want youngsters watching cricket to emulate him , there are better examples to follow.
    warnie, mcgrath, gilchrist definetly much better players .

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  • 114. At 6:07pm on 13 Jan 2009, ant246 wrote:

    should of gone 2 years ago when langer retired. stats prove it, he has averaged 38 since the last ashes.

    the only reason he has lasted so long is because of his big mate "ricky". club ponting....sorry australia need to select the best players from their state cricket not the captains mates.

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  • 115. At 6:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, AlrounderGladys wrote:

    It is worth noting that, if you take out his runs against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the ridiculous ICC World XI, his test average is just over 44.

    That puts him into a much more accurate context, particularly in relation to someone like Richards who averaged over 50 and only played against Australia, England, India, Pakistan and New Zealand.

    We can see now that Hayden was not in the same class.

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  • 116. At 6:36pm on 13 Jan 2009, unchosen1LFC wrote:

    I'm a proud English follower of cricket and like most other Englishmen would probably agree; we would love a man of Hayden's ability opening the batting in all forms of the game because he's a better opener than we have produced since Gooch probably. Trescothick was good and hasn't been replaced but Hayden was a class above the rest in terms of aggressive opening batsmen

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  • 117. At 6:43pm on 13 Jan 2009, Penozzie wrote:

    One of the greatest Aussies ever. Mighty, confident and brutal when on top of a bowler.
    Can these poms really love a Roy Keane or a Vinny Jones and dislike this guy. Churchgoer and benevolent community member - the pink bat handle signified a significant sponsorship for breast cncer research.
    Perhaps the dislike expressed here is a result of his being too good for your team on so many occasions.
    Anyway I doubt he would lose any sleep about the opinions of England fans

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  • 118. At 7:16pm on 13 Jan 2009, Kiran wrote:

    Theres a post saying that except england and India, no one else has problems with Hayden.

    Just to clarify, Hayden and almost all the aussies are well liked in India except for the short period around Monkeygate. Hayden is liked and known as an extremly nice guy off the field..... but on the field he's certainly been on the wrong side of most players....

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  • 119. At 7:42pm on 13 Jan 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    Great stats, obviously.

    But the James Blunt of the cricket world.

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  • 120. At 8:05pm on 13 Jan 2009, fairground wrote:

    since when did been a christian make someone a better person?

    the yorkshire ripper was a devout christian

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  • 121. At 8:07pm on 13 Jan 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Hayden, off you go to your TV contract - lets hope you have a few less choice words for your commentary than you did on the pitch - at least you can go safe in the knowledge that you have a left a spot open for someone with hopefully some skill,brains and humility, oh sorry, I forgot, you play for Australia- thats impossible.

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  • 122. At 9:01pm on 13 Jan 2009, saintbatty1 wrote:

    I see the usual sour grapes from the English.
    Hayden was a great cricketer and sporstman and if he got under the skin of some cricketers it was probably because he was so good. Listening to the great Assies that have retired in the last couple of years they all come across as nice guys who want to do good for cricket in the future, with no egos just gentlemen.
    Oh by the way I'm English.

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  • 123. At 9:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, bobdaspider wrote:

    Spot on blog, Tom - in my opinion, your blog was very insightful and accurate methinks. Hayden was obviously a great player but as you say, he never quite managed to win over the non-Australian cricketing public.

    ^o^

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  • 124. At 9:49pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tim in Marlow wrote:

    @ saintbatty (#122):

    "I see the usual sour grapes from the English."

    No, no, no. That really ISN'T the point at all. There have been dozens of Aussie players with bags more talent than Hayden (and who have made life even more difficult for England than he did) for whom we English have enormous respect. We absolutely LOVE Warnie, for example, and you'd have thought that if anyone was going to be the target for sour grapes, it would be him - and there have been many, many more examples throughout the history of the game.

    Just because we English - not to mention those of the majority of cricket fans I have spoken with around the world - can't stand the man doesn't mean that we are just jealous of his prowess. It's his attitude, his behaviour and his total lack of grace that gets everyone's backs up.

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  • 125. At 10:16pm on 13 Jan 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Haveron, spot on mate. Haydos (cant Aussies think of better nicknames rather than putting an o or y behind their name?) on yer bike to that great unloved cricket box in the sky - dont worry i aint rushing to buy your book whether it be cricket or cooking - and nor are there many others . Cricket will be a better game without you. Oh and dont forget to take your 50 average with you - or is it really 44 against the 'real' test playing nations?

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  • 126. At 10:22pm on 13 Jan 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Strange how Oz have produced two magnificent characters in Hayden and Mcgrath - what characters they are !!!!
    Full of wit ,humour and humility.
    Maybe its an Ozzie trait eh? - ah sorry, yes, i forgot it IS an Ozzie trait !

    We've won, we've won,we've won, 18 games later and we've won............................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ah sorry, (tried to) break into a little wit and humour there - for all you aussies, best you look it up in the dictionary!!!!!!!!!

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  • 127. At 10:38pm on 13 Jan 2009, AndyRAC wrote:

    I'm a Pom, but love the Aussie mentality. The guy was a winner, an intimidating presence at the top of the order - someone who tried and usually succeeded in seeing the opening bowlers off. Bish, bash, bosh....!!! Take that!!
    Then again, we have Ian Bell. Says it all I'm afraid.
    His comments on Harbhajan hit the spot as well.
    This country is uncomfortable with winners, something Haydos and Australia are/were.

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  • 128. At 10:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, Bognor_dave wrote:

    I definitley saw him score all those runs, so he is not a legend, he is all too real. Great Batter, Great Aussie, Great Sportsman.

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  • 129. At 11:10pm on 13 Jan 2009, FredQuimby wrote:

    to me he'll always be the face of ugly australian cricket, win at all costs. the game's better off without him.

    see you matty, don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.

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  • 130. At 11:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, CJontheGC wrote:

    You are no doubt a very short sighted person.

    Hayden came back from rejection, time and time again. He ended up with an average over 50 - deemed by all knowledgeable afficanados as the true measure of a great cricketer. He showed character that most cricketers today would give their "left-one" for.

    There is no doubting that Singh is an amazing cricketer but he is an absolute disgrace- Tendulkar seemed very upset on the field with Singh when he was spraying racist remarks towards Symonds in Sydney. Later he bent the truth to suit the "teams" requirements. Talk about character! How many other people did Hayden comment on over the 17 years - there's an obvious reason why he was the only one. Wow that's deplorable.

    I won't even start on all the things that Hayden did off the field for the various elements of society, its obviously something that you are not concerned with as that would provide a basis for establishing the real person.

    Its quite amazing that over the years a bowler has been able to use what ever means to unsettle a batsman, but heaven forbid a batsman proactively trying to put a bowler off. That just wouldn't be cricket. Wake up-to yourself.

    oh and er...pass the cucumber sarnie luv

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  • 131. At 11:34pm on 13 Jan 2009, CamborneDave wrote:

    At 1:04pm on 13 Jan 2009, waldinho1 wrote:

    "That Hayden is one of the greats isn't in question, only an idiot would question that his impact on test cricket over the last 10 years isn't up there with (altho not necessarily quite equal to in all cases) Tendulkar, Lara, Warne, Giles and Murali, amongst others."


    Giles? Alongside Sachin, Lara, Warney and Murali?

    Now I like the King of Spain as much as the next chap, but seriously...

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  • 132. At 11:38pm on 13 Jan 2009, CJontheGC wrote:

    Dear Addick_stu

    How much in funds has your favourite cricketer raised for an exceptionally worthy cause?

    To date McGrath, a man you deem as being totally character less, has raised enough funds for 4.3 nurses (not sure where they find a third of a nurse) for places in the country side (outback) in Australia.

    What a knob of a fellow eh?

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  • 133. At 11:45pm on 13 Jan 2009, CamborneDave wrote:

    But back to the subject!

    Hayden was a superb player who made the most of his abilities. Not the most naturally gifted, but competitive and combative. For someone of relatively lesser natural talent to end up with the record that he did end up with is nothing short of amazing - I can think of few "workmanlike" batsmen that average 50 in test cricket. 50 averages are usually reserved for the gifted.

    His abrasive personality seems to annoy some England fans, but not this one. His personality is what compelled him to make the best of his abilities.

    He was right about Harbajan.

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  • 134. At 11:51pm on 13 Jan 2009, CJontheGC wrote:

    Surely technique is using ones ability to make runs at the highest level. Given the amount of runs he has made, his technique has to be fairly decent. I have seen some amazingly good techniques at grade and state level, yet they don't ever become successful at test level.

    Methinks technique is really a word used by belligerents on this blog looking for excuses to bleat.

    As the yanks say, Joe Montana (one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history) didn't have good technique, he just made it happen!

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  • 135. At 11:55pm on 13 Jan 2009, Tom wrote:

    Not a nice bloke on the pitch. But who cares?

    About time England got some players with some fight in them so we could compete at last. Oh wait, we got one and made him captain, and then sacked him because he tried to do things properly. Of course

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  • 136. At 00:32am on 14 Jan 2009, wingcommanderthrush wrote:

    CJontheGC

    As his username suggests Addick_stu is a football fan and as such will post to type.

    If Hayden had played for England he would have been a hero, unfortunately he was too Australian ie he was a winner.

    He had no chance of being popular in this country, I don't recall reading about his wife-beating, affairs, drink problems or the time he and his team mates roasted a slapper! If he'd run up to Harbajan and kung-fu kicked him he'd have got better press!!!

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  • 137. At 00:35am on 14 Jan 2009, FredQuimby wrote:

    At 11:33pm on 13 Jan 2009, CJontheGC wrote:

    "You are no doubt a very short sighted person.

    How many other people did Hayden comment on over the 17 years - there's an obvious reason why he was the only one. Wow that's deplorable.

    Its quite amazing that over the years a bowler has been able to use what ever means to unsettle a batsman, but heaven forbid a batsman proactively trying to put a bowler off. That just wouldn't be cricket. Wake up-to yourself.

    oh and er...pass the cucumber sarnie luv"


    You must be one of those 'what happens on the field stays on the field' blokes. On that we differ.

    Don't you mean 'heaven forbid a fielder trying to put a batsman off'?

    And Singh was the only recipient of Hayden's sledging? Are you for real?


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  • 138. At 00:47am on 14 Jan 2009, banzaibee wrote:

    I would like to see Hayden against Walsh or Ambrose or Akram or Younis in their prime. I would say he would bounce around the low to mid 40s, like David Boon did.

    Instead, hayden was blessed with an era of weak bowling attacks and soft-centred teams (aka long term decline of England except for 2005 and sadly declining WI).

    Someone above said, "better average than Viv Richards".

    Oh dear, Viv was a giant amongst many giants. Hayden was a tall man in a room of short people.

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  • 139. At 00:57am on 14 Jan 2009, 8598craig wrote:

    Not sure what type of calculator some contributors are using but if you disregard all innings against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the ICC world XI, he still averaged over 48.25. Hayden only played 7 of his 103 tests against these teams. Compare this to other modern day batsmen (particularly Sri Lankan)whose averages are hyper- inflated due to playing annual series against the Bangers and Hayden's figures look even better. Averaging 59 against India over 18 tests (including over 51 in tests played in India), what more could you ask of the man.
    And I think he went easy on Harbajan. Let's not forget that the reason Harbajan got out of jail free was that the cricket super power that is India bullied the ICC by threatening to take pick up their bat and ball and go home.

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  • 140. At 01:44am on 14 Jan 2009, BennyMelb wrote:

    Hmm i know he's Usain Bolt's favourite cricketer, but then again maybe some people don't like his ego either.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/beijing_olympics/story/0,27313,24219829-5017275,00.html

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  • 141. At 01:45am on 14 Jan 2009, andysw12 wrote:

    Has anybody ever questioned Sir Viv's record?

    After all, he never had to face the most dangerous fast bowling attack in history... flat track bully....

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  • 142. At 01:49am on 14 Jan 2009, AlexSeoul wrote:

    Sorry to say but I've hated the guy ever since he was seen mouthing some obscenity to a child in the 2005 Ashes...charming individual.

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  • 143. At 02:25am on 14 Jan 2009, SpeakingCivilised wrote:

    Very nice and balanced article, Tom.

    Hayden is a flat track bully, but this might not the main reason he doesn't get the same respect and love other big scorers receive. Perhaps Sehwag also fits the billing as a flat track bully, but this man does with delectable shots, with a big smile on his face, within the spirit of the game, with sportsmanship, and without indulging in crossing his chest or making obnoxious gestures to his opponents.

    As a person, Hayden comes across as someone like Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart, loaded with hypocrisy. There are his people and there are the infidels. It shouldn't come as a surprise his tribals love him, and the other tribes that he despises have an equal and similar reaction toward him. Hansie Cronje used to wear a bracelet with the inscription WWJD (what would jesus do), and we know how he turned out.

    At about the end of the blog, you make a comparison to Warne, that is perhaps the most important piece of information to get a sense of why he draws such a contemptuous response from more people than not. Warne was cricket's John Daly, always prone to indiscretions, but generating the kind of reaction that a mischievous lovable kid would. Hayden's loud mouth, his body language, his facial expressions and his gestures emanated a distinctive message that he cared about his tribe and detested others.

    He was a big shot player, but a small minded man.

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  • 144. At 02:38am on 14 Jan 2009, arsecaptain wrote:

    Sure, Hayden wasn't popular and no-one outside of Australia will be sorry to see him go, but perhaps that's the ultimate complement. Sport needs villains as much as it needs heroes, and Hayden was a ruthless winner. Fair dinkum, as they say.

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  • 145. At 03:15am on 14 Jan 2009, Geezer51 wrote:

    EzyRIder @ 135

    Spot on.

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  • 146. At 04:13am on 14 Jan 2009, Agaliscious wrote:

    As an Australian, I have to stick up for Matty Hayden here.

    On and off the field, Haydos was loved by Australians. He was a true Aussie larrikin and was always good for a laugh. Hayden was a part of an aggresive team that won a great deal of the time and I can't believe that he is being viewed upon as a bully.

    The Australian team as a whole was well known for being "in-your-face" and aggresive, which is what got them so much silverware. At least, that was the case until Australia's 2007 tour of India when their aggresive side was put under the microscope and the Indian media tore them to shreds. Since then, Ricky Ponting has had to keep an eye on the levels of aggression given by the Australian team which has done nothing for them at all except lose them games.

    If you're a sportsman and you can't take a bit of heat, then you don't belong on the pitch...and that goes for every sport!!

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  • 147. At 04:40am on 14 Jan 2009, Geezer51 wrote:

    To his detractors I would like to point out that most, if not all of the character traits that you found so objectionable in Mr. Hayden are precisely the character traits you yourselves are showing to posess in no small measures.

    Have you heard the one about the pot and the kettle?

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  • 148. At 05:04am on 14 Jan 2009, GlazedHam wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 149. At 05:23am on 14 Jan 2009, expatlancastrian wrote:

    A lot of you dislike Hayden for his "arrogance" and his off feild demeanour.
    This is from a blog on www.abc.net.au/unleashed,
    just the last four paras


    "Over the past 24 hours, I've read a lot about how those outside Australia won't miss him. I'm not so sure. Subramaniam Badrinath, one of his teammates with the IPL's Chennai Super Kings said recently: "He is such a positive player, just the way he speaks during meetings and his preparation methods are so perfect."

    Indeed, there was something mesmeric about the way he readied himself for a game. He once told me that hitting a cricket ball well could be addictive and you could see that both in the nets and out in the middle. And for all the snarls and un-Christian words from slip, his heart was certainly in the right place once he walked beyond the boundary.

    I'll never forget a day in Kochi during the fractious one-day tour of 2007. As I waited for Gilchrist and Dravid to record messages of support for Raksha, a school for children with multiple handicaps that my aunt runs, I saw Hayden disappear into a hall with a large group of schoolchildren. One of the teachers told me later that he had taken the time to speak to nearly every single one. Her eyes shone, and it was pretty obvious that she cared little for his obnoxious reputation. Neither should we.

    He will be missed. Hugely."

    written by a gentleman called Dileep Premachandran.

    Some of the comments on this blog are a disgrace and an embarrasment to those that made them.

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  • 150. At 06:02am on 14 Jan 2009, hollywollyzaler wrote:

    I could be wrong but wasn't it "an obnoxious little DWEED" that he called H. Singh..not "WEED"!? Not quite sure if the impact goes up or down either way but anyway I think it's important to get these things right.

    Hayden was a truly great batsman...and I think I know what you mean about a certain cool atmosphere to the bloke but to be honest though I think a lot of that might have been tongue in cheek anyway...some aussies are like that..... when you think of it he never really did or said anything too bad as far as I know. Rather sorry we couldn't have seen him just one more time in an Ashes series. His successor will have big boots to fill!!!

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  • 151. At 07:22am on 14 Jan 2009, fabuniquemembername wrote:

    He has to go down as one of the greats, purely for his comment about Harbajhan. He let the little weed off lightly, to be fair.

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  • 152. At 08:07am on 14 Jan 2009, DancingTinyBear wrote:

    I love cricket and i love my country (England). I was brought up on Ian Botham and he is still my favourite player of all time (K.P. not far behind!)

    But i have always enjoyed watching other players from different countries. And Hayden, i have to say is one of the all time greats. I loved watching him play. Great attitude and great to watch. Finess is nice but brute force can be really entertaining. His attitude was right. The "No-one, remembers second place" mentality is how great players succeed.

    Although i am glad he wont be playing in the next ashes, it is sad to see him go.

    Thanks for the wonderful cricket big man!

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  • 153. At 08:31am on 14 Jan 2009, immortalpop wrote:

    I'm sure that Bradman did not have to tolerate opposition like Harbhajan, who for many cricket fans is indeed obnoxious.
    "I don't mean to be arrogant, but if we 're executing our skills there's not a side that can get close to us." Have you not Roger Federer make similar comments about himself?
    Let's be fair to players in the modern era like Hayden who have to suffer media scrutinization and 24/7barrage of criticism from internet sources. I've never read more than two sentences about Neil Harvey's personality as a player, due to the fact that players apart from the captain hardly spoke to the press, or perhaps because he had none.

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  • 154. At 08:49am on 14 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    I think this article is an absolute disgrace. Here we are on the retirement of a great player and instead of acknowledging his career, we English want to bring him down and talk about how we disliked his personality. That to me is so insulting to Hayden and Australia, that we could stoop so low and whine and be so critical of such minor details. We English are just obsessed with disliking any Australian success just because we feel so insecure about losing quite often and that Australia more than often wins. In this country there are too many cricket purists who still walk around with their nose in the air and still think it is a gentlemen's game played in the park with some jolly fellows after church. Test cricket is a game of intense mental character, only the tough are successful. Now is not the time to be sore losers and whine about a glorious career that has come to end. Shame on you all with your negative comments.

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  • 155. At 09:01am on 14 Jan 2009, daniellong74 wrote:

    what an absolute legend, as an englishman i am supposed to hate the aussies for what they did to us in the ashes....
    but as a cricketer i can't do that, the man was an absolute star and will be gretly missed.... especially in the next ashes series lol.

    Mr Hayden you will be missed, enjoy your retirement

    Shanka from Ashford

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  • 156. At 09:18am on 14 Jan 2009, Rex Mundi wrote:

    How absolutely typical of the English press to engage in a round of character assassination against Hayden. Arrogant? Hah! This from a country who hands out MBEs and passports for scraping acorss the line in a two horse race once every twenty years? This from a country whose ex-captain gracelessly celebrates the demise of tail end bunnies by holding his arms out in a crucifix of celebration and raising his eyes to the heavens as if he's about to ascend? This from a country who produced Douglas Jardine and Ian Botham?

    Get over yourselves.

    One last thing, Harvey, Border and Bradman would not have bothered calling Harbhajan an obnoxious weed on national radio, they would have said it to his face and led their team from the field.

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  • 157. At 09:24am on 14 Jan 2009, geniusNidNid wrote:

    Statistically a fine player although experiences at cricket grounds around the world suggests his autograph-signing stats would be less impressive. Unlike guys such as Shane Warne who give something back I think it unlikely that Hayden will have inspired any kids to take up the game - he hardly make it look like fun.

    Ducks and centuries were greeted with the same demeanour - that of a man who woke up sucking a lemon which was being sucked by a wasp at the time. Sure he piled up runs but he did so in the same way that a particularly miserable and reluctant serial killer might pile up bodies.

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  • 158. At 09:33am on 14 Jan 2009, fabuniquemembername wrote:

    murph73v2: spot on. Absolutely spot on.

    What happens when (if) England wins the Ashes again? Knighthoods?

    I beat my mate at tennis the other day - first time in three years. I'm awaiting my MBE.

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  • 159. At 09:38am on 14 Jan 2009, lalaloon wrote:

    re.149 expatnortherner wrote

    Some of the comments on this blog are a disgrace and an embarrasment to those that made them.

    How sanctimonious.

    Do you believe that people aren't allowed to express their opinion?

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  • 160. At 09:41am on 14 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    post number #157
    you are the only dill sucking a lemon mate. You are the typical miserable English cricket fan. Whine whine whine. Why are we full of such misery and complain constantly? Where are the English gentlemen? You are definitely not one mate.

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  • 161. At 10:19am on 14 Jan 2009, odysseus wrote:

    Funny that those posters who find it so unacceptable to criticise Hayden for his arrogance find it perfectly acceptable to criticise Harbarjan for being obnoxious...

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  • 162. At 10:22am on 14 Jan 2009, expatlancastrian wrote:

    #159, Loon, it's patently obvious you haven't read the blog.
    Read it and you'll find some invective that is totally undeserved.
    Opinion is only valid if it is based on fact, not on the bias of some "fan" who happened to have a hatred of Hayden.
    At least I quoted an Indian who saw what he wrote.
    Nothing sanctimonious about that.

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  • 163. At 10:47am on 14 Jan 2009, DL wrote:

    As a supporter you know whoever you don't like in the opposition team, is obviously one of the best in the opposition team!!
    This is true with Hayden, being English we couldn't stand him when we played against him, his arrogance his sledging etc.(not sure the chewing gum helped either!) on tv Hayden Ponting and Mcgrath were the aussies you wished you could punch!!
    However this was really down to them being the ones we knew would do most damage to our team with bat and ball respectively.


    However in terms of his stroke play I hated watching it against us as he made hitting our bowling attack to the boundry so easy it was embarassing (apart from '05 obviously). However when watching Hayden as a neutral batting against India or South Africa I have to admit to loving watching him bat, always prefer a batsmen who 'hits' the ball rather than nurdles it around!
    His decision to retire is another blow to the australian team and another step towards them being as beatable as everyone else, and should England win the Ashes this summer it will be slightly less sweet without Hayden in the Aussie team!

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  • 164. At 10:49am on 14 Jan 2009, Rex Mundi wrote:

    "Do you believe that people aren't allowed to express their opinion?"

    People have as much right to express their opinion as others have to tell them that their opinion is rubbish.

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  • 165. At 10:52am on 14 Jan 2009, Rossco737 wrote:

    This blog showcases the cultural differences between Australia and England.

    The point of sport to Aussies is to win above all else within the laws of the game. The point is not to make friends and be loved by rival players and fans.

    Playing hard and fair is our way followed by beers afterwards.

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  • 166. At 11:07am on 14 Jan 2009, nick750 wrote:

    It's not about winning or losing, it's about how you play the game.

    (although saying that, as an Englishman I take a certain pride in how we stuffed the Aussies at the Olympics)


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  • 167. At 11:11am on 14 Jan 2009, Rex Mundi wrote:

    "as an Englishman I take a certain pride in how we stuffed the Aussies at the Olympics"

    Really?

    Why?

    I did not know that Britain is England and England is Britain. I'm sure the Welsh and Scots would have something to say about that.

    England has a population of over 50 million, compared to Australia which has a population of 20 million. *English* (as opposed to *British*) competitors won only as many gold medals as Australian competitors.

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  • 168. At 11:14am on 14 Jan 2009, seanmichaels wrote:

    #165

    Agreed but don't tar us all with the same brush!

    The guys slating Hayden on here represent the sort of people that are encouraging this country to celebrate mediocrity. Probably wouldn't have their kids playing contact sport for fear of injury, or exposure to a bit of sledging....

    As said in my earlier post and backed up in Langers' column, the guy was and still is a gentleman off the pitch. Cricket is all about competition on the field, some cheeky sledging or if deserved a bit more direct. The most important thing though is to shake a hand, and have a beer with that same guy you called a **** after the match.

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  • 169. At 12:17pm on 14 Jan 2009, bayboy1664 wrote:

    Test cricket is about winning, nothing more or less.

    Winning in style is a bonus but Test Cricket is not a popularity contest.

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  • 170. At 12:45pm on 14 Jan 2009, bluejames29 wrote:

    since when did personality get you batting scores? as if we liked shane warne more? he was banned for drugs and was extremely arrogant and too good. with haydens record, why has he not got much praise? he had his moments, but he was one of the best openers around. his records commands respect. so you didnt like him. get over it. he was one of the best EVER. FACT. TRUTH. respect him on that and give him the send of he deserves. bad bad blog. what a nonsense

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  • 171. At 1:55pm on 14 Jan 2009, Uganda Tim wrote:

    As few, if any people commenting here know the man personally, what we are really talking about is the public perception of him.
    Aussies, get off you high horses and stop lecturing everyone else on how to be obnoxious but great.
    To an extent it reminds me of England's double retirers, Gatting and Gooch. I was in Oz at the time and the Ozzie press was respectful to Gooch, but definitely not warm. Gatt however received fulsome praise for his arguably lesser achievements (at least in terms of runs.) Gatt somehow connected with public better- the Shakor Rana incident, the bar maid on the lawn, drunken singing on table tops may be the reason.
    Hayden was determined, gritty, talented for sure, but just possibly with Gooch's "wet fish" charisma.

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  • 172. At 4:02pm on 14 Jan 2009, Sav1976 wrote:

    Maybe that is the problem with English cricket. You become a test player to win test matches not make friends. If you make friends (which Big Matty has made plenty) then it is a bonus.

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  • 173. At 4:14pm on 14 Jan 2009, GlazedHam wrote:

    I was excised from comment earlier i notice...anyway...Hayden's a dinky die Aussie and we love him coz thats exactly what he represents and nutures. With him gone, it'll be near enough to a brand new team..so the rest of the world should really demonstrate something before this new one warms up! otherwise it'll be back to the old 'you're only good because we're not' argument..lol

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  • 174. At 5:01pm on 14 Jan 2009, RobM1974 wrote:

    It's a very good question - is Hayden good enough to be called great?

    It's my own opinion that some superb cricketers have become greats because of the team they played in. Would Viv Richards have been as good as he was had he not the comfort of the 4 fastest bowlers around in his side? In Richards's case - I think he would because he excelled for Somerset particularly and and Glamorgan to a lesser extent and nobody's frightened of Colin Dredge or Steve Watkin are they?

    I can't speak about Hayden's performance outside the Australian side which contained Warne and McGrath for the majority of his career but since they both retired - he's not been quite the player.

    Arrogant at times - indeed and in his case I think it was arrogance as opposed to supreme confidence a la Richards or Lara. Having said all this though - here I am comparing Hayden with two undenied greats so begrudging his attitude - one can't deny his greatness. Arrogance amongst cricketers has to be backed up by performance otherwise the bloke just looks a fool. Witness Cullinan saying Warne was rubbish or KP saying Yuvraj was a pie thrower only to be dismissed by these very bowlers.

    I have two specific memories of Hayden - one from way back in 2001 - the other from 2006.

    They're both from MCG test matches - the 2001/02 game against South Africa - an attack which as I recall contained Pollock, Ntini and Donald and, to be honest, he slaughtered them. He literally smashed the ball all around the MCG with the ease that John Arlott once famously said "of a man knocking a thistle top off with a walking stick - no trouble at all". Thumping drives and powerful back foot shots - he made a great attack look pedestrian.

    The other memory is the 2006/7 game against us - again at the MCG. Just one stroke sticks in my memory - a massive six hit off Andrew Flintoff - way way back over long on. Flintoff is just about the hardest fast bowler to smash around (though still not sure how fit he was on that tour - and captain toboot) but Hayden just muscled it into the crowd. He and that uncultured slogger Andrew Symonds both got 100s against some very weak English bowling but it wasn't so much the results - it was the arrogant muscular strokeplay that I remember so well.

    I do believe however that has has had enough slumps in form over the years to warrant him being a superb player that became a great because of the confidence he was able to have because of the team he played in. Lloyd once said he didn't mind being bowled out for 100 because he knew Marshall and co would skittle the opposition for 90 and I beleive the same could be said of Hayden. It must be a great feeling to know you have Warne and McGrath around if you fail with the bat.

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  • 175. At 5:46pm on 14 Jan 2009, charmingChairboy wrote:

    Hayden raised the bar for all test openers in recent times. In a team that went out to score 300 runs a day in either form of the game he was the man they looked to - to set the tone. and how he delivered.

    He made the most of his talent and never tried to be anything other than what he was. As a pom im glad to see the back of him but he will be the benchmark for future generations of openers around the world.

    Good luck to him

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  • 176. At 6:46pm on 14 Jan 2009, earthstumps wrote:

    Arrogant bully
    Can never be considered a great cricketer
    in test matches, retiring at the age of 37
    and still did not reach the magical 10000
    runs.
    Saffers, started and ended his demise
    good riddance

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  • 177. At 9:54pm on 14 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 178. At 10:02pm on 14 Jan 2009, Edward Mills Grace wrote:

    Admired by his colleagues. Hated by his opponents. Good, that's how it should be - who wants to be a batsmen the bowlers like?

    From some of the comments here, I think there are some people with far bigger attitude problems and far meaner spirits than Matty Hayden is ever likely to possess.

    And by all means claim his average drops when you discount innings against weak bowling attacks. I assume, of course, that you have made exactly the same deduction for every other batsman in the entire history of international cricket.

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  • 179. At 10:05pm on 14 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    Eddie, how many of the admired greats before this past 15 years made cheap runs against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe? How many of them played on covered pitches? How many of them had access to modern bats? It's silly to assume that the greats of the past would not have vastly better averages under those circumstances.

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  • 180. At 10:07pm on 14 Jan 2009, blog_crasher wrote:

    Good riddance. For sure he will not be missed by anyone other than the Aussies. The most overrated 'great' modern batsman who built big scores against weak attacks, but had prolonged failures in series against quality stuff. Plenty of examples - Ashes 2005, India and South Africa Series 2008...

    His recent comment calling India a 'third world country' as an excuse for poor over rates was laughable. Surely, 'third world countries' dont offer multi million dollar IPL contracts to players like Matthew Hayden well past their prime.

    If only he knew that his fan following in India was more than the entire Aussie populaton put together before he said this!

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  • 181. At 10:34pm on 14 Jan 2009, Tedfevastun wrote:

    "Good Cricketer, Horrible Man"?

    I think the first statement is unquestionably true - let's face it, we (England) would give our right arm (well ok maybe Ian Bell's right arm) for an opener of Hayden's caliber.

    Horrible Man? - well this might be true, although we're basing this judgment on what we see of his behaviour on a cricket pitch in the heat of Test matches and a few snippets of his life off the field. I’m not happy writing someone off as horrible on these grounds. Besides, by the same criteria Geoff Boycott would be called horrible. I’d have both in my team any day and that’s probably what matters most.

    Enjoy Retirement Matthew

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  • 182. At 10:44pm on 14 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    Given a choice of any available opener, I'd prefer to see either Sehwag or Smith over Hayden, if we have to choose a non-English player. Sehwag is every bit as good as Hayden, and nobody ever complains about his unpleasant character. Smith has played against better bowling attacks than Hayden, is every bit as accomplished and has matured greatly over the last 5-6 years. That's more than Hayden has managed.

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  • 183. At 11:03pm on 14 Jan 2009, cubancricket wrote:

    Do not allow the 380 against Zimmbabwe overshaddow his achievements because his record against Bangladesh is poor, the other monnow, so he was no minnow basher. The fact of the matter is, he scored big runs against Shoaib Akthar at his best (the Sharjah innings was immense), Kumble, Harbhajan, Murali, Flintoff, Hoggard, Harmison, Pollock, to name a few.

    As someone before said, give me a thumper like Hayden than a nurdler like Strauss any day of the week, or any minute of the day. There is nothing like watching a ball screming to the boundary and making a violent sound when willow meets leather. In fact, one of the reasons why so many people got bored of longer form of the game in the 80s was because there were too many nurdlers back then, who would be happy scoring 240-250 in a day's play.

    Guys like Hayden, Symonds, Pietersen, Freddie, Yuvraj, etc have been so refreshing and I am sure won many new fans, especially the young because attacking cricket is what all of us enjoy.

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  • 184. At 11:06pm on 14 Jan 2009, cubancricket wrote:

    His record against Warney and McGrath at state level is also very good.

    Its very unfortunate that, what the time seemed a pretty innocuous injury in the IPL, would cause him so much bad form ever since. Of course, age was also a factor in his inability to recover quickly.

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  • 185. At 11:08pm on 14 Jan 2009, cubancricket wrote:

    "Arrogant bully
    Can never be considered a great cricketer
    in test matches, retiring at the age of 37
    and still did not reach the magical 10000
    runs.
    Saffers, started and ended his demise
    good riddance"

    He only played 100 tests as opposed to the 150 or so some of the others that have gotten to 10,000 runs.

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  • 186. At 11:48pm on 14 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    Some information for all the Hayden sledgers on here.
    Hayden played 103 tests, 4 against Bangladesh and 2 against Zimbabwe. He only averaged 33.60 against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe 250.5. In his 3 innings against Zimbabwe he made 380, 20, 101*. Langer made 26,2,8. The Zimbabwe bowling attack did contain Streak and Price, with Streak considered a world class bowler. He made 380 off 437 balls, 11 sixes. He made 101* off 85 balls to win the test in Sydney.
    Muralitharan considered by many to be a world class bowler has played 125 tests, 25 tests against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. 89 wickets at 13.37 against Bang, 87 wkts at 16.86 against Zim. In 13 tests v Australia, 59 wickets at 36.06.
    Michael Atherton, a player we English think of as an English hero. 115 tests at an avg of 37.69. 16 hundreds. Avg vs Australia 29.68 in 33 tests with 1 hundred. Hayden avg 50.73, Atherton 37.69. Hayden 30 hundreds, Atherton 16. Strike rates - Hayden 60.10 and 82 sixes, Atherton 37.31 and 4 sixes. I ask you who would you rather watch? Typical of us English we award him for a mediocre career with an OBE, and lets remember he also attracted controversy with the rubbing dirt on the ball. Atherton is the perfect example of why English cricket is so crap. Probably given the captaincy because he was a Cambridge graduate over Alec Stewart. He was as slow as a snail and boring to watch as he gritted out a slow 37 runs off 100 balls. As much as you want to argue about Hayden's personality he makes Atherton look like a village cricketer. Imagine what they thought of Atherton in Australia when he would be coming out to bat with a great avg of 29 against them. Hardly shaking in their boots. Hayden was dominant, intimidating and aggressive. Everything English cricket is lacking. He was a champion, great to watch and brought test cricket alive.

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  • 187. At 00:15am on 15 Jan 2009, GlazedHam wrote:

    bravo! appy arry bravo!

    mediocre attack analysis and rhetoric is a bore. Statistics in cricket should be used to explore and enjoy the game. Not research and cherry pick so that you can nit pick and irritate.

    I must assert that Hayden's comments about Harbhijan and India were down soley to him defending his mate Symonds. The treatment meted out to Symonds on the tour to India by Indian players and crowd was appaling. We all love India, its people and everything about the place...but those incidents were inexcusable and Hayden said so. Good on him.

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  • 188. At 01:50am on 15 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    'appy arry, did it ever occur to you that Atherton faced a devastating Windies attack, not to mention some of the greatest bowlers Pakistan and South Africa ever produced - in their prime? Hayden failed the acid test every time he faced top quality pace bowling, which is something you conveniently ignored.
    Glazed Ham, Hayden was not just innocently defending Symonds - another character with his share of problems. Remember how he expressed a wish to beat up Ishant? And if we are going to talk about racism, maybe you'd better leave Murali out of your discussion, given the abuse the Australians heaped on him.

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  • 189. At 01:57am on 15 Jan 2009, tao_of_reason wrote:

    Any sports is first about winning and sportsmanship.

    If cricket is a team game - then no one can say - Hayden is a winner. I have not heard of a match which Hayden single handedly won for Australia - like Lara did in many occasions for Windies.

    So if he is not a winner in that sense and not a good sportsman - what he is?

    No one apart from few Australian fans cared whether he is retired...

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  • 190. At 02:53am on 15 Jan 2009, GlazedHam wrote:

    Lehmann was reprimanded with such vigour for his disgraceful conduct about Murali that he never played test match cricket again Nickzi. What you are defending is indefensible i'm afraid. In terms of crowd behaviour, calling out a cheeky 'no ball' every time Murali bowled is a not in the same league. What problems does Symonds have? He was so worn out by the media scrutiny over that affair in India - accusations that he was lying for some bizarre reason...left him totally exhausted. Understandably. It would have been a horrendous experience. I want to beat up Ishant?? Hayden said that? I once said to Tommy Tucker in the playground i wanted to beat him up. He ignored me and the next week we were playing in the sand pit together...so no harm done there really..lol

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  • 191. At 03:04am on 15 Jan 2009, 8598craig wrote:

    appy_arry - great blog. The great English celebration of mediocrity! I've long argued that whilst Murali is indeed a great bowler, 170 odd cheap wickets sure help his stats look greater than he is. Compare the figures against how many times Warne played Bang and Zim....

    Nickzi - Murali copped a hiding from Australian crowds because he is a chucker. Was then, is now. I can't deny that there was probably the odd instance of racism here and there that the media blew up but tell me where that doesn't happen. Andrew Symonds had the best part of a full stadium taunting him with racist banter in India.

    And Rossco737 (blog #165) - That's all very romantic, warm and fuzzy but this is the age of professional sport. If your feelings are hurt by someone in the slip cordon commenting on your apparent lack of batting talent then perhaps you're not quite up to the task of playing test cricket.

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  • 192. At 04:42am on 15 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    Craig, as you well know, Murali's action has been cleared, repeatedly, by the biomechanics scientists. Calling him a chucker is a cheap lie, one used by the Australians to attack the greatest spinner of the modern era. And no, I don't think "sledge for your wickets" Warne was ever as good. Murali carried a weak Sri Lankan attack for years, which is more than Warne was ever asked to do. And Australian crowds have long been notorious for their boorish and racist antics, Murali is not the only cricketer to be abused by them over the years, simply one of the greatest. He handled their vicious thuggery with grace, and set an example that Australians would do well to learn from.

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  • 193. At 04:57am on 15 Jan 2009, simalkh wrote:

    Mathew Hayden .. He is one of the batsman in the world who can take the game away from the opposition . I have seen him performing in India . Its amazing to watch .Indians have struggled to get him out .....Some times he was the only difference between the teams ...

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  • 194. At 05:28am on 15 Jan 2009, 8598craig wrote:

    Nickzi - they had to change the rules for him to continue to play!!! I will never deny that he is a great bowler and certainly has carried his team but you just can't argue with the cheap wickets against teams that Australia don't even play against for the good of the game. And have you ever been part of an Australian crowd? Respect and accolade is always shown towards visiting sides that play the game in the right spirit. Good natured ribbing of visiting sides very seldomly hits below the belt and usually when it does it is pulled up by those surrounding the culprits. The players themselves usually get a laugh out of it. 'Vicious thuggery'!!! Please...
    You're really starting to come across as a bit of an Aussie basher....

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  • 195. At 06:04am on 15 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    Craig, you can't have it both ways, either Murali is a chucker, or he is a great bowler. One or the other, not both. As for the racism prevalent in Australian sport, if you won't listen to me, perhaps you'll listen to an internal document produced by Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC):

    http://infosports.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/racism-in-cricket-refer-to-australian-report-just-out/

    Didn't the Cronulla riots teach you anything?

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  • 196. At 08:24am on 15 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    Nickzi
    you are really proving yourself to be a bigger dill each time you post on here. i mean really to proclaim that Murali was a better spinner than Warne and then to accuse Australian sporting crowds of being racist, but your last comment about the cronulla riots takes the cake. Do you think England is not a racist country? Do I need to remind you of the Steven Lawrence murder in London as an example?. When you live in a glass house you don't throw stones. Be careful what you preach on here as you don't want to be accused of being a hypocrite. Will you please stop looking at the world with a chip on your shoulder about anything Australian. You really are giving us English fans a terrible reputation.

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  • 197. At 08:44am on 15 Jan 2009, 8598craig wrote:

    Murali is apparntly a bowler because the rules were changed to say so.
    I haven't followed your link as yet but as you are obviously the subject matter expert on Australia's racism could you perhaps inform us all as to what exactly the Cronulla riots had to do with sporting crowds???
    You sure have an axe to grind...

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  • 198. At 09:02am on 15 Jan 2009, againstthebar wrote:

    Farewell Mr Hayden

    And so farewell
    Mr Hayden with your
    rippling biceps, armoured thighs
    and
    mean expression.
    They say you were
    a bully.
    I don't like bullies.
    I don't like Australians much either
    but you have to try, don't you?
    I will remember
    your downturned mouth and your big
    average. So what
    will you do now?
    Celebrity ballroom dancing?
    We all hope so.
    Now it can be said,
    Farewell.
    Enjoy your retirement
    sledging in Queensland.

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  • 199. At 09:32am on 15 Jan 2009, dilse_cricket wrote:

    Could not disagree. Hayden's stat is good but stat can be deceptive. Shoeson has rightly stated -

    Hayden unquestionably has an ego and I wouldn't be surprised if his decision to retire now was driven in part by that ego - how many cricketing "greats" retired with an average in excess of 50? But should his ego make us respect him any less?

    But when talks about stat, one has to also look at the opponents. You cannot take credit scoring 380 against Zimbabwe.

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  • 200. At 09:58am on 15 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    How would we feel here in England on retirement of one of our greats, for example Flintoff, if the Australian media and public carried on the way so many on here have shown such disrespect. I am sure it would not happen, they would just recognise a great career and competitor. If it is one thing I am sure of Australians is that they love a competition. Not an easy victory but one they have to fight hard against a strong opponent. They recognise a fighter. I know Australians were very fond of Darren Gough for his never die attitude. To be raising such mindless ills about Hayden is inappropriate and one can only feel is sour grapes from England fans who have been beaten so often by Aussie sporting sides that they have become bitter and miserable pathetic beings.

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  • 201. At 10:04am on 15 Jan 2009, ripsnotter wrote:

    hai fordyce, this blog definitly made sence. I remember when Heydan was about to play his hundredth test he gave one interview to cric info and he claimed that winning is engrainned in the auscie mind. what is he trying to imply? may be he thought that people who played and lost to west indees and england in the eighties were unaustralian. people like him ment as if sport means just winning and winning regardless of enjoyment. victory is not the mark of enjoyment, mate?

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  • 202. At 2:06pm on 15 Jan 2009, salestrader wrote:

    The eulogies flowing from various quarters for this very good (but NOT great) player have been truly nauseating. As have the wild-eyed mob yelling down anyone who dares to say so, on the grounds that this would be disrespectful under the circumstances.
    For God's sake, the man has merely retired, not died. So allow me to add my voice to the small band who notice that the Emperor has no clothes, or at least fewer than everybody else claim to notice.
    That Hayden was a very good player is not in doubt. What is also not in doubt is that, especially for an opener, he was unconvincing in the extreme against genuine quick bowling (e.g. Donald, Akhtar). "Flat-track bully" is probably a bit strong, but not too far off the mark. At any rate, not a true great IMHO. And to claim he is the best Australian opener ever merely betrays either the speaker's (Ponting?) utter ignorance of the noble history of this great game or his wilful mealy-mouthed hypocrisy (or both). Have any of those making these claims in the "irrational exhuberance" of the moment ever heard the names Victor Trumper and Bill Ponsford? If you consider that Don Bradman rated Arthur Morris exceptionally highly, there is a good case that Hayden is not in the Top 3 Australian openers of all time.

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  • 203. At 2:10pm on 15 Jan 2009, Nickzi wrote:

    Appy arry, maybe you should curb your own abusive tendencies. And please don't tell me you are English - your comments simply reflect your unconvincing attempts to disguise an Australian identity. Also, we are discussing Australian cricket and its problems, despite your attempt to weasel off-topic. Since you ask, yes,English cricket also suffers from abusive and racist fans, although strangely enough we don't seem to get the complaints that Australian cricket does year in year out. Perhaps we just police the crowds more effectively? As for the connection to the Cronulla riots, surely that was obvious? Racism in sport reflects a wider racism in society as a whole, and the Cronulla riots were a graphic and unpleasant demonstration of just where Australia stands at this point. Anyone who knows anything about racism knows that unless we are open about it and face up to its existence, it will continue to harm society and sport. The worst people are those who pretend it doesn't really exist, or it's just people having fun, or it doesn't happen very often. Racism harms Australia and India and Britain, and until we admit that fact, we won't get very far in dealing with it.

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  • 204. At 3:45pm on 15 Jan 2009, Sav1976 wrote:

    Nickzi, how is the air up there on your moral high horse? You are right abusive and racist fans are problems the world over. Perhaps you hear more about it in Australia as cricket has a higher profile there then in most countries. I have watched cricket in a lot of countries the world over and heard a lot said from the crowd. The worst however has the Headingly crowd in 2005 calling Matthew Hayden a paedophile. No one deserves that.

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  • 205. At 4:53pm on 15 Jan 2009, nicedribbler wrote:

    Rossco 737 (#165) makes an interesting point about the cultural differences between England and Australia in the sporting arena. Sadly, he's right. Some of the other Australian blogs on here also highlight the other cultural difference between our two fine nations - many of you Aussies just dont handle criticism that well, fair or foul, nor like taking a joke at your own expense. Thats fine - we have our traits too - but it does provide us with limitless possibilities for fun at your expense!

    As to Hayden, I think his stats speak for themselves - he averages way higher than any other England batsman of the last 30 years (English KP aside) and was a brutal century smasher. Perhaps he did have his weaknesses, but the fact that until this last time he always came back stronger only proves his character and courage. Personally, from my settee and occasionally from the stadium, I didnt warm to him, he seemed to take himself way too seriously and appropriately this proved to be his achilles heel in 2005.

    I for one am glad he hasnt got the opportunity to make another comeback in 2009 - and what Aussie can blame an Englishman for not being sad to see him go. He will be a very hard act to follow for Australia. I think his record will stand the Test of history very well, respect to the man for his achievements, and good riddance.

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  • 206. At 8:12pm on 15 Jan 2009, 8598craig wrote:

    Nickzi your racism argument has gone far beyond the realm of a BBC sport blog about Matthew Hayden's retirement so I'll let that one rest other than to wonder if you have ever experienced any Australian culture beyond what you read in the media and snippets of sensationalism on tv.

    appy_arry you have hit the nail on the head. Australian sporting fans will always love a sportsman of any nationality who has heart and continues to bust his guts when the chips are down. Being a bit of a larrikin goes a long way over here too especially if you have the ability to have a laugh at your own expense once in a while. Darren Gough was a classic example. Even guys like Phil Tufnell were crowd favourite, terrible fildsman but geez he gave it a go.

    Unfortunately it seems that the only images of Matt Hayden that the British public get to see are that of a determined test cricketer who is doing everything he can to achieve what he is getting paid to do. In Australia he has a big profile outside of the game where his personality off the field gets a chance to shine. This is perhaps why so many people on here are so determined to defend him because we see the whole package ie charity work, family life, cooking, fishing etc. Comes across as a pretty good bloke.

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  • 207. At 9:06pm on 15 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    Nickzi
    I am English but unlike you I have travelled quite a bit and spent alot of time in Australia and have alot of Australian friends. I therefore have gained a better understanding of what makes Aussies tick. Unfortunately in England there are still too many less travelled who still think of the British Empire being superior throughout the world. We English (not all) go abroad for our summer holidays but simply never leave our "English" resort and come back with a tan but no experience of the foreign culture. Or travel for football matches in Europe, for example champions league or Euro matches, and large groups of English terrorise the foreign towns with their chanting and boozing, and return with nothing gained from visiting a foreign country. They show absolute disrespect. Some English still hate Germany for WW2 and France from being enemies until 1900. These same English also still think of Australia as a colonial settlement where we sent convicts. The same also have never got over the Maradona "hand of God' goal back in 84.
    It is time to get over our selves and realise we are not the high and mighty anymore. Other countries exist and have their own identities and cultures. Instead of comparing them to our own we should embrace the differences.

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  • 208. At 9:24pm on 15 Jan 2009, truecrktfan wrote:

    Great opener - resounding Yes. Obnoxious on the field - absolutely yes. In fact that probably applies to a few of the recently retired Aussie cricketers.

    You dont have to strut your stuff on the field and bully (read sledging of the worst kind - i would love to see the true christian and a lovely family man that Hayden is to use that sort of language at home or with his friends) the opposition. If, as most of you say in this blog, is what ticks the aussie team, then you have it wrong completely.

    Look beyond cricket at other games. Talent and hard work is all that counts to win. In fact its those that dont have them that resort to intimidation - sledging that is and not agressive batting. I am prefectly okay with aggressive batting. In fact most of the bloggers here who have a problem with Hayden's aggressive style of batting would love to have one like him in their team as an opener.

    Sledging - with profanity and personal trashy comments - should be banned. It is in other games and you would be banned if you are caught doing it.

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  • 209. At 9:27pm on 15 Jan 2009, Satjit wrote:

    Sure Hayden was a good batsman - statistics over a decade plus do not lie. However I would reserve judgement about his being a good sportsman.

    There is much more to cricket than purely technical skills of batting (although I never really thought that Hayden was an elegant batsman). Sport is much bigger. Playing for your country, you are ambassador for the nation. Playing cricket, you an ambassador for the sport. Sadly, he let himself down on these fronts that really mattered. How can I tell my child to look up to a players who calls another player "an obnoxious weed"?

    I belong to an school of thought where sportsmanship is valued and indeed a source of great pride. Sledging, has no part to play in it.

    So I will say, bye bye to a successful batsman. As a sportsman, he will not be missed.

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  • 210. At 10:16pm on 15 Jan 2009, Edward Mills Grace wrote:

    Nickzi, since you asked:

    how many of the admired greats before this past 15 years made cheap runs against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe?

    None at all. The same number as those from the modern era made cheap runs against the weak attacks of Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka during their respective apprenticeships. Or indeed India a little before that.

    How many of them played on covered pitches?

    The same number as those from earlier eras who played three forms of the game in an increasing number of global locations due to an increasing volume and frequency of tours with less and less recovery time time available due to an increasing number of back to back test matches.

    How many of them had access to modern bats?

    Again, how many were confronted with bowling strategies and field placings based on detailed video analysis of their technique and specifically targetted on any perceived weakness? And with increasingly well trained, well practised fielders better able to prevent run scoring and possesed of significantly greater catching and throwing skills. But at the same time, as a batsman, having a far higher expectation of scoring rate than at any other time in the game's history.

    It's silly to assume that the greats of the past would not have vastly better averages under those circumstances.

    But not as silly as to just assume that they would! Or to just assume that the modern players would not have been able to adapt to the conditions faced in previous eras.

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  • 211. At 00:52am on 16 Jan 2009, cubancricket wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 212. At 02:38am on 16 Jan 2009, truecrktfan wrote:

    Intersting to read the "sledging" - though nothing compared to what Matt Hayden and his illusrtious partners dish out on the field - that is going on between some bloggers here.

    From the sidelines....Matt Hayden is certainly not a racist - at least going by what is on record and what we have seen on TV. Whether he is a racist in real life and whether Aussies are racists are for another blog elsewhere and not certainly here.

    But an abusive and agressive sledger - HE IS - and sledging should have no place in sport.

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  • 213. At 07:31am on 16 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    Why should sledging have no place in sport? Cricket as well as other games is not just a sport of physical ability but also mental strength. If you can put off a player's mental state by "sledging" to get them off their game then why not? I don't mean slandering them personally about family etc, but to question their abilities as a cricketer is fair enough. If a player cracks to it or is it susceptible to it then obviously they are weak mentally. A player with a strong mental state would only use it to their advantage. (eg. Steve Waugh). If a batsman plays and misses a number of times why not contribute to his unsure mind by adding a smart comment about him not hanging around much longer or that the bowler has him worked out or that he is not cut out for this level of competition? If a batsman has got out to a bowler a number of times for example Cullinan to Warne and comes out to bat against him of course you would question him about having no idea against him etc. Is this not sledging and if so then of course it has a part in the game. I don't see how this is against the spirit of the game.

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  • 214. At 10:29am on 16 Jan 2009, truecrktfan wrote:

    Fair point appy-arry. However how do you ensure that everyone sticks to this moral code and does not cross a line? Who draws this line? What is perfectly palatble to one is possibly a vile slander on his character to another. How do you prevent the sly ones who know how to say the "right stuff"away from the range of the camera and the mikes?

    Sport brings out the competitive spirit in all of us. Its okay to theorise in the virtual world but it would be darn difficult to ensure that no one gets carried away on the field - espicially when its a close match.

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  • 215. At 12:22pm on 16 Jan 2009, appy_arry wrote:

    I suppose in the case of Harbajan calling Symonds a 'monkey' it seems that when they do cross the line you can get away with it. I mean the Indians tried to say that a monkey has some high standing in India and that it could be taken as a compliment. But who are they kidding really? The treatment Symonds got from the Indian crowds was actually the worse racial abuse I have ever seen from a sporting crowd. Absolutely disgraceful. Monkey chants echoing across the stadium as the majority of the crowd tickled their armpits as Symonds came out to bat. The Indian side were aware of the tension and the insult it was causing etc and it was promised by Kumble and his players that the term would not be used on the field. Yet Harbajan the "obnoxious weed" can't help himself and calls Symonds a monkey again. Mike Proctor the match referee suspends Harbajan for the comment, but then India go crazy and threaten to withdraw from the tour etc. It then goes to a court of law with a NZ judge. Apparently Harbajan hit Lee on the backside with his bat and acknowledged a good ball, Symonds took exception to this (given their bad blood in the past) and questioned Harbajan for touching Lee. When Symonds was questioned by the Indian lawyer about taking objection with this, his response was "My objection was that a test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player." Harbajan claimed he said in his native tongue "teri maki" which apparently means motherf***er. Hayden, Michael Clarke and Symonds were all witnesses to what Harbajan said. Tendlukar was the only Indian witness, although he said he heard a heated exchange but did not here the word "monkey", but he did hear the words "teri maki". However Harbajan's 5 previous reports of misbehaviour was not presented to the judge which could have affected his ruling.
    Harbajan received a $3000 fine and Symonds was blamed for instigating the feud which then ignited his downward spiral as he felt the ruling was unjust. So basically it was Symonds, Hayden and Clarke's words over Harbajan and Tendulkar. Sounds a bit dodgy to me, and Symonds has a right to feel hard done by. One has also got to question Tendulkar's high standing in the cricket world, not only for this instance but also in Gilchrist's book he claimed Tendulkar was hard to find for a changing room handshake after they have lost. He also questioned Tendulkar's honesty from the above test.

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  • 216. At 12:57pm on 16 Jan 2009, Moutarde wrote:

    Don't forget, Hayden also bullies kids, or did he actually take a swing at that kid during the Ashes '05 when he came out to bat?

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  • 217. At 5:54pm on 16 Jan 2009, bournstar69 wrote:

    Great batsman, great man, hero to the Australian people and also fans of cricket in general.
    Sometimes bullied kids but sometimes that just needs to be done you know what I mean?
    Didn't cause the credit crunch, batted well, not a lot of personality but who cares he was a heroic batsman, legendary in fact, role model to many, hero to many, role model to a few select few.
    Very good batsman, very good cricketer, very good man, most of the time except when he was bullying kids or failing to be a good cricketer, NOT a racist not a noted racist, not like Big Ron, NOTED racist NOT a racist. Hayden is not a racist unlike Big Ron, who is not not a noted racist.
    Very much my hero is Ben Hayden. I mean Matthew Hayden. Very good cricketer. GOOD MAN.

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  • 218. At 5:57pm on 16 Jan 2009, Mitchell Inman wrote:

    #213 & 214 both have a point.

    Sledging is part of the game and I wouldn't suggest a blanket ban. Some players have been masters of it: like Doug Walters remarking, when Mike Denness came out to bat in Australia, "Oh no, we've got to put up with him for another minute." (Although Denness, who probably heard it, played one of his better innings and got a 50).

    There's a fine line, as the two posts pointed out. Racist comments are clearly not acceptable, nor, I would say, are personal insults that have nothing to do with the game, e.g. questioning someone's parentage or sexuality. Physical assault, however minor, is a no-no.

    While I wouldn't try to formulate a rule based on this, I think the difference is between clever remark and mindless insult. In the same way, one or two contributors here have responded to something they disagree with by calling the other person an idiot. If that's the best you can do, you are no better than they are. If you can't explain your point rationally, you probably haven't got one.

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  • 219. At 6:55pm on 16 Jan 2009, NickedOff wrote:

    Hayden sums up all that is wrong with cricket over the last decade. The swaggering arrogance of him and his team mates has dragged cricket down to the same level as football - I half expect to see an Australian taking a dive...

    If you want a comparison, Hayden has a similar average to Viv Richards. Now there is a cricketer who will be remembered as a true great of the game, and for all the right reasons. Hayden, if he is remembered at all, will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

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  • 220. At 10:57pm on 16 Jan 2009, AndieRae wrote:

    So how many other guys got 380 against Zimbabwe if it was such a doddle? He will be missed as much by those who disliked him without ever knowing him as those who lived in awe of his belligerant savagery at the top of the order. That alone says much.
    Time is a great decider. Thirty years ago McEnroe was universally loathed and now he's been semi-deified. Yes, as a club opener and an Englishman I could only look on in awe and cricket loses, not gains by his departure.

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  • 221. At 11:53pm on 16 Jan 2009, stemr1 wrote:

    It was a certain Matthew Hoggard who worked Hayden over in 2005 not Freddie.

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  • 222. At 08:18am on 17 Jan 2009, harmerthecharmer wrote:

    Good riddance to the gourmet pyschopath - an unprofessional bully, unlike the widely respected Langer.

    And like all these modern "great" players who never played on uncovered wickets, what's his average if you strip out Bangladesh and Zimbabwe?

    Tenth in the list of all-time greats - you're having a laugh!

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  • 223. At 10:57am on 17 Jan 2009, stazz229 wrote:

    I am no fan of Hayden. Like many here I too feel he could have been better behaved but then so could the Australians in general. Culture and class seem alien to them. However he was a good batsman - real good. I think we have to end with that.
    Our views on character may vary as each country's culture seems different - what is offensive to us appears acceptable to them.
    And I find it odd that the board is dominated by messages on Harbhajan. As an Indian I am disappointed that any of our team does not carry himself well ( lately we have been copying the Australians more in terms of conduct on field - sledging, playing mind games, using the media to exert pressure on opponents...). But Harbhajan deserves the criticism he gets. It is only that this board is supposed to be all about Hayden and Harbhajan seems to be stealing more attention!!

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  • 224. At 7:01pm on 17 Jan 2009, U13787083 wrote:

    No doubt, fine player but always making rude statements. Lot of people happy that one of foul mouth Australian not on the field anymore. Even on the radio and newspapers his comments are always controversial and immature. He had offended lots of good cricketers .

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  • 225. At 10:51am on 18 Jan 2009, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:

    Cricketer Matt had his strong areas. Let us wish the retired cricketer all the very best in life and plenty of success in his people-oriented projects.





    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 226. At 8:26pm on 18 Jan 2009, Baaaza wrote:

    A typical Aussie, loved a fight and hated to loose. Never saw him turn his arm over but what a brilliant slipper and would have made a good captain. For his size he did well against the spinners and often his sheer strenght got him out of trouble. A gutsy cricketer will be sadly missed.

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  • 227. At 01:16am on 19 Jan 2009, prwilkinson wrote:

    Why would someone write such a negative article? Matthew Hayden is a family man, loves to cook and loves fishing with his mates.

    Sour grapes from the English again? I mean your last captain was barely English. Cling to anything to make you feel better about being no good at physical activity. The word envious springs to mind when you read this article and all the other negative blogs.

    Haydos was a brilliant cricketer and is a lovely man off the field. If your a big man like him or Graeme Smith you'd be a damn fool not to use it to your advantage and intimidate other sides. I'm sorry but professional sport is about trying to play at your utmost best and winning is it not? It's not about rainbows and teletubbies. With such a weak attitude no wonder Australia has dominated for the last twenty years.

    The funny thing is there's a production line of players like Matty Hayden coming through in Australia, to many to choose from really so I'm sure you'll all have someone else to sook about for smashing you all over the park in a few years. What a joke.

    Haydos, congratulations on a wonderful career you certainly achieved a lot in cricket far more than any Englishmen has in last 30 years. Bravo.



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  • 228. At 1:18pm on 19 Jan 2009, byrite wrote:

    Well Haydos reminds me of another bigger than big Australian - Warwick Armstrong. Loved by Aussies for their no nonsense attitude and loathed by the rest for the same attitude. Without doubt he was the best opener I have seen; ruthless or brutal are too soft and gentle as words to describe his batting!

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  • 229. At 6:35pm on 19 Jan 2009, harmerthecharmer wrote:

    Why do so many Aussies assume that any criticism of one of their own is based on nationalism, rather than objective assessment of merit? Is this an unwitting sign of how they themselves approach critical analysis?

    My previous assessment of Hayden is based on what he did, not who he is. He was a good test batsman by modern standards but inclusion at number 10 in a list of all time greats is ludicrous for someone who never played on uncovered wickets and scored a bucket of cheap runs against two countries that hardly deserved test status. As a person and sportsman he was an obnoxious, foul mouthed bully and I say again – good riddance to him. It seems from other comments made that many people accept these are necessary vices for success in the modern game. Perhaps they are right – this sadly is what the game has become. There are exceptions – think of the ever gracious and sporting Adam Gilchrist.

    rpwilkinson says that Hayden “is a family man, loves to cook and loves fishing with his mates.” Ha, ha – what on earth has this got to do with anything? rpw also says Hayden “certainly achieved a lot in cricket far more than any Englishmen has in last 30 years.” Quite apart from its blatant national bias this is an extremely silly statement if only for the fact that it precludes I. T. Botham.

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  • 230. At 00:04am on 20 Jan 2009, prwilkinson wrote:

    I mentioned that he is a family man, loves and to cook and fish because of the obvious complete and utter ignorance of the mans actual character and who he really is as a person.

    The man likes to win as do most Australians and if people can't handle the psychology of playing sport at the highest level then you shouldn't be there.




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  • 231. At 00:10am on 20 Jan 2009, prwilkinson wrote:

    As for being listed as number 10 of all time. It doesn't matter it's just a list... everyone in the cricketing Universe would have a different list it's just a matter of opinion. Tendulkar at 26 just sums it up really.

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  • 232. At 11:55am on 20 Jan 2009, alfie wrote:

    Don't think Tom was unfair. He acknowledges Hayden's status as a modern star of the game, with the caveat that his peak years coincided with a rather weak field of international bowlers. I would also salute his aggressive approach which so often softened up the opposition bowlers for the rest of the Australian order : Australia will be a lesser team without him even if his replacement makes a lot of runs.
    The other side is true though: he was hard to love, unless you were on his side.It often appeared (perhaps an unfair perception?) that he lacked respect for his opponents. It is well documented that he was an often offensive sledger , which did not sit well with his rather overt Christianity.
    I think it is fair enough to salute the player but also comment on his manner.

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  • 233. At 11:32pm on 20 Jan 2009, aapierre wrote:

    Hayden has a great record as a test cricketer and should be applauded wherever he goes for that.

    However, he will never be taken to the hearts of the opposition fans in the way that someone like Tendulkar would. Maybe that was because he led from the front and took on the best the opposition could throw at the Aussies.

    I know that as much as I have respected his record I have never enjoyed seeing an innings of his in the way that I have taken pleasure from watching some of the other greats of the Test arena.

    Coming out of the test arena I watched Marcus Trescothic smash 125 against my club Durham in the Friends Provident last year and loved the sheer wonderfulness of it even if he was making sure we were going to lose.

    It was a pleasure to watch Lara beat England on his own on many occasions and seeing Tendulkar play such wonderful shots as a back foot drive through mid off this winter was a pleaure.

    Hayden has never been able to provide me with that respect and enjoyment in the opposition and for this his retirement is not to be missed in the way Langer's was.

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  • 234. At 11:36pm on 20 Jan 2009, aapierre wrote:

    Can I add that maybe my view is tainted by something I heard about him when Rob Key was making an Ashed debut.

    I am sure it was Hayden who greeted him with a volley of abuse to the effect that Key was not good enough to be out there in the middle with such quality as the Aussies.

    Rob Key's response was to point out that such a big family and one with a reputation for being a good christian was just out of place behaving like that.

    Maybe this conflict of on and off field persona's is something that didn't work in his favour.

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  • 235. At 5:58pm on 23 Jan 2009, trollsaab wrote:

    Good news for England's hopes in the Ashes I reckon, although his form has been poor recentley I think he could have scored some big runs next year. Looking back to Tom'd 30th Dec blog if you want to keep up on when the Aussies loose at anything you can go to www.oneovertheaussies.co.uk to see all their lastest defeats, brings a little ray of sunshine most days recentley!

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