Hayden says decision to retire not an easy oneJanuary 14th, 2009 - 2:29 pm ICT by ANI
Brisbane, Jan.14 (ANI): Former Australian opener Mathew Hayden has said that his decision to retire from all forms of the game was not an easy one to take.
Speaking a day after his retirement, he recalled speaking with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for about ten minutes or so, discussing how both would love to work together to try to advance the well being and prospects of Aboriginal cricketers.
These are the two lives of Hayden, the public figure and the outdoors boy who might one day just disappear into the wilderness and not come back.
Hayden lives on Brisbane’’s southside. His property is substantial, giving his three children room to play, a dam where he can fish and the kitchen to express his great passion for cooking.
He was out in the back garden the other day relishing picking a bunch of wild tomatoes with daughter Grace where he decided to quit.
“It wasn”t an easy decision (to retire),” he said.
“I was tossing and turning. As a player I have contributed all I can. I have lived the dream of every kid who has picked up a bat and ball and wanted to wear the baggy green. I am retiring from cricket, not from life. I want to use the time now to explore my other passions, he said.
Hayden’’s retirement brought all his old mates together again. He spoke to Justin Langer, Steve Waugh and Glenn McGrath early and was in no hurry to hang up on any of them.
He feels a debt to each one of them because his magnificent career was never a one-man sporting journey.
Between the dynamic high points that come with 30 Test centuries, there were times when he felt down and out and so despondent that he once put on his best suit and flew at his own expense to Melbourne to meet Cricket Australia boss Malcolm Speed and ask him whether there was some unknown reason why he was not playing for his country.
Once, in 1999, sitting on top of a sand dune at Stradbroke Island near his beach house, he said to wife Kellie: “You know we can have all this but I”ll never feel completely fulfilled unless I prove to people what sort of Test cricketer I can be. It’’s something I just have to do.”
From that point, where he had played just seven Tests in five years, his career soared into a stratosphere occupied by the purest of blue-chip champions.
The journey would not have been possible without a little help from his friends. When he was feeling down and desperate in 1998, Steve Waugh lifted his spirits with a phone call, saying: “You are never out of my thoughts - you should think about playing for Australia.”
That’’s why, if Waugh is launching a book and calls Hayden to be there, he can be halfway to Siberia yet will still reply “No probs … where and when?”
Selector David Boon in recent weeks won Hayden’’s respect for being sympathic to his predicament and trying gently to leave Hayden’’s decision in his own lap. And like the tomaotes, it eventually just gently bubbled up.
Hayden was very emotional during yesterday’’s speech. At one stage he chastened himself with “get up” as his voice faltered but it was no surprise - behind the robust batting enforcer there is a much more mellow fellow.
Hayden estimated yesterday he had been at the crossroads seven times throughout his career.
He recalls that he was regularly told he was too big, couldn”t play spin, was poor off his pads and generally not the right package.
Through sheer hard work and a planning gene he inherited from his father Laurie, a peanut farmer who kept his property with the diligence of a greenkeeper, he painstakingly sandpapered every obstacle into oblivion.
He even dared to be his own man - moving forward to every ball he faced rather than back and across, which was the preferred method of Don Bradman and so many others.
But he never saw himself as flawless. “There were times when I got the strategies wrong but I never died wondering - I loved the fight,” he said.
Once he even missed out on a trophy for most runs at a schoolboy carnival because someone had added up wrong.
But he considers each setback a bonus now, because it cast the steel into his soul that made him fearless, driven.
The Australian Cricket Academy never knew what a favour they did to him by branding him unfit for their academy because they were “really only after players suitable for first class cricket”, as he forged on to make them feel as red-faced as the tomatoes that subtly pointed him to a new life. (ANI)
Tags: aboriginal cricketers, australian prime minister, baggy green, bat and ball, beach house, best suit, centuries, cricket australia, daughter grace, glenn mcgrath, hurry, justin langer, magnificent career, mates, passions, prospects, sand dune, steve waugh, wife kellie, wilderness