Hayden game’s greatest opener, says Ponting

January 13th, 2009 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Brisbane, Jan 13 (IANS) Matthew Hayden’s Australian teammates hailed him as a great batsman who brought a new dimension to the game with his dominating display.Justin Langer, with whom Hayden shared one of the most formidable batting partnerships in Test cricket history, rated him as the greatest opening batsman Australia have produced.

“He’s the best opener we’ve produced statistically and for his influence on the game,” Langer said.

“He played 103 Test matches and averaged over 50 - that’s an incredible career just showing his longevity and endurance, and his champion status.

“He did everything, he was not only the best Test opener, but also the batsman of the World Cup in 2007.”

Langer and Hayden first opened in a Test match in 2001, and over the next five-and-a-half years put on 5,655 runs together, with 14 century stands at an average of 51.53.

Langer believes Hayden has made the right decision to retire from the international game.

“I think it’s a good decision. Physically, he could have gone on and he could have easily moved himself into the runs that we have expected, I have absolutely no doubt about that.”

Australian captain Ricky Ponting called him Australia’s greatest opener.

“You can even look back through the history books of the game and try and see if there’s ever been a better opening batsman in the game, let alone Australia,” Ponting said.

Glenn McGrath said Hayden had nothing left to prove.

“It’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to play with him and even more so to call him a mate. And to me Matty is a legend of the game. He’s got nothing left to prove. His career stands alone. He’s an amazing person and an amazing player.

Cricket Australia (CA) Chairman Jack Clarke said in a statement that Hayden was an integral part of the most successful era in Australian cricket.

“Matthew was one of the greatest ever players to pull on the baggy green,” Clarke said.

“To open the batting with an average over 50 in 103 Test matches puts him among the all-time greats of the game. It would be an interesting task if the Team of the Century was to be selected today to rate Matthew against Bill Ponsford and Arthur Morris.”

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