Ponting offered to stand down for Hayden

January 18th, 2009 - 3:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Hobart, Jan.18 (ANI): Australian cricket skipper Ricky Ponting reportedly made a secret offer to stand down from last Tuesday’’s Twenty20 match to allow Matthew Hayden a testimonial game at the Gabba to celebrate his retirement.
According to the Herald Sun, in a frantic few hours before Hayden faced the media to announce he was quitting cricket, Ponting and a former Test player conjured a plan to give the 37-year-old the ultimate send-off.
The Australian captain phoned Hayden around 9 a.m., two hours before the press conference to announce he would retire from Australian cricket.
The idea was the brainchild of a former Test star, who did not wish to be named. He contacted Ponting around 8 a.m. and suggested he step aside to allow Hayden to captain the side and open the batting with Twenty20 whizkid David Warner.
Ponting was supportive of the gesture and floated the idea with Hayden, who was scheduled to complete a lap of honour during the change of innings.
Cricket Australia would have been required to ratify the plan, but the idea did not reach an official level because Hayden politely declined Ponting’’s offer.
Hayden confirmed the discussion and said he was stunned by the proposal.
“Ricky did ring me on the morning of the game. He said: “I”ll stand down for you if you want to play one last time”,”” Hayden said.
“I was blown away by Ricky’’s gesture, I said, ”thanks mate, but I can”t do it”.
“I had made my decision. I was retiring in a couple of hours and I didn”t want to make the announcement and then go out there and play for Australia.
“For me it has always been about the team and it would have disrupted them. I was rapt with the lap of honour. It was a great way to say goodbye.””
The former Test player said Ponting was more than happy to make way for Hayden once the idea was raised.
Cricket Australia spokesman Phillip Pope said the Hayden cameo would have been difficult to ratify as the veteran opener had formalised his retirement with CA boss James Sutherland. (ANI)

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