Matthew Hayden quits international scene (Lead)

January 13th, 2009 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 13 (IANS) Imposing Australian opener Matthew Hayden retired from international cricket Tuesday, ending the extraordinary career as the third highest century maker and fourth top most run scorer for his country.With skipper Ricky Ponting by his side, Hayden announced that he and his wife Kellie had decided it was time to finish his career.

The 37-year-old Hayden’s career was at crossroads following a run of poor scores, raising serious doubts about his place in the national side.

“I am announcing my retirement from representative cricket, effective immediately,” Hayden told the press conference.

“I know that now is the time to move on. I am retiring from cricket, not from life, there is still so much that I want to achieve and contribute to the community.”

Hayden’s imposing presence in the Australian ranks would be sorely missed at a time when the world champions are going through a transitional phase.

“It’s nothing in particular (that has caused it), we are in a really good place right now. It’s just time to move into other areas of our life,” Hayden said.

Hayden played 103 matches for Australia, scoring 30 centuries and 29 50s. He walks away with reputation as a feared opening batsman and an average of 50.73.

He played 161 One-day internationals and featured in two world cup wins. In 2006-07 he set an Australian record, scoring 181 off 166 balls against New Zealand at Hamilton. In 2007 year he scored 659 runs at 73 in the world cup and was the ICC One-Day Player of the Year and he won the same award again last year.

Hayden’s difficulties started last year. A barren run since making back-to-back centuries against India at the start of 2008 has seen him pass 50 just twice in his last 15 innings.

With a queue of openers waiting for their turn, most notably New South Wales’ prodigious talent Phil Hughes, Hayden knew its time to hand over the baton.

The powerfully built Queenslander debuted in 1994, but played just seven Tests in the first six years of his international career until he resurrected his career with an incredible performance against India in 2001 where he scored a record 549 runs in three Tests. He never looked back as he went on to smash 1391 runs that year, another record at the time.

It came as welcome relief to Hayden who felt vindicated in his belief he had been good enough to have earned more Test honours before then.

“It always baffled me a bit, because I always, always had scores on the board,” he said. “It was like I had to win the perception.”

He held the world record Test score, albeit briefly, when he plundered 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth in October 2003. Brian Lara promptly took that record back with his unbeaten 400 against England at St John’s six months later.

His opening partnerships with Justin Langer at the start of the decade also revolutionised modern-day batting against the new ball with the pair dominating opening attacks and Australia regularly raking up 300 runs in a day. Their partnership was broken when Langer quit the international scene after the last Ashes series Down Under in 2007.

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