Australia news June 13, 2010

'Australia late in capitalising on T20' - Matthew Hayden

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Hayden, the former Australia opener, has said Australia missed an opportunity to capitalise on the enormous potential of Twenty20 cricket when the format was still in its developing stages. He claimed the desire to protect 50-over cricket - Australia's own creation - and a primary focus on Tests and ODIs when the IPL was yet to materialise may have contributed to Australia's delay in cashing in on Twenty20. Hayden also spoke of the need to make one-day cricket more meaningful and exciting for fans and players alike.

"As a player, I think we in Australia were slow to react to T20,'' Hayden, who is now part of Cricket Australia as board director, told the Sunday Age. ''We didn't see much of it here for a start. It seemed to be something that was happening everywhere else. England created it and was holding competitions, but the IPL hadn't started yet and our primary focus here was on winning every Test match and being one-day champions.''

A conservative approach in trying to safeguard 50-over cricket, Hayden said, could have prompted the delay in realising the potential of Twenty20. ''There must have been some concern, being conservative as Australians tend to be, that we've got this great product, 50-over cricket, which KP [Kerry Packer] invented and which changed the cricketing landscape, and we didn't want to leave it behind,'' Hayden said. "We were all proud of 50-over cricket, we'd nurtured it and grew it and it was - and still is - good for the game.

"But the little brother, Twenty20, isn't little any more. He's grown up, he's now market leader and yelling from the mountain. Twenty20 is fuelling change.''

The surging popularity of Twenty20 cricket, many believe, has threatened the viability of the 50-over format. Cricket Australia, in order to draw more people to the game, has decided to trial split-innings one-dayers next summer, with games divided into four innings of 20-25 overs each. Hayden said that, in addition to making one-day cricket more exciting, it was also important for administrators to ensure there wasn't an overdose of the format.

''I understand the fans more now than ever because, as a viewer, I want to see a game that's exciting, innovative and entertaining,'' Hayden said. "When I was in the Australian team, I could sense there was meaningless cricket going on. I always struggled to get myself up for matches against minnows. It's not like Freddie Flintoff with his eyes wide open, bearing down on you for the Ashes. I could feel that in the team and now I can feel it from the outside, too. It needs to be dealt with.

''With one-day cricket, people say they still love it, but it doesn't have the excitement it used to, certainly not compared to T20. We have to work out when and how we play one-day cricket. It's a pathway to the World Cup, which is still a valuable property, but it has to be programmed in a way that makes sense. Seven one-dayers at the end of a Test series isn't [giving much] meaning.''

Hayden has compiled his suggestions in a dossier, which he has submitted to the ICC. ''Greater minds than mine will act on this, but these things must be considered when discussing the game's future,'' he said. ''The intention of that dossier was to start conversations. I hope it leads to a more meaningful calendar.

"The game's gone beyond cigars and meetings in cloakrooms. The way it's played and viewed has changed and now we need to streamline what's important and what's not. It brings great challenges. I think CA understands that. They know change is coming and needs to be embraced.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • lucy on June 15, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    It's nice to see the Aussies come to their senses at last. I hadn't realized they thought of 50-over cricket as an Australian product (which I do realize is different from saying they invented the sport) - so that was an interesting perspective I learnt from the article. Anyway, now that they've finally see the light, I hope they start globalizing the Big Bash the way Modi did with the IPL (but with more class than crass - shouldnt be too hard) - broadcasting matches live on YouTube, selling merchandise available at Aussie restaurants all over the word, moving the tournament so its last week doesnt compete with the Australian Open (tennis) for newspaper coverage, attracting players from more countries so that they get newspaper headlines in those countries, etc. I mean, the Big Bash is older than the IPL - its first edition was in January 2006- and it's a crying shame that the Aussies haven't done more with it, even allowing for the fact that the Indian market (esp diaspora) is bigger.

  • Peter on June 14, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    Hayden did not say AUSTRALIA or PACKER invented 50 over cricket. He said Packer invented THE PRODUCT!!! That is coloured clothing, restricted circles and fielders, night cricket, coloured balls and general razzamatazz of an event. Everything that is taken for granted nowadays. The one day game, or even 50 over game was invented in England decades prior, but the way they played it was boring, I recall England posting 9 fielders on the boundary off the last ball of the match to prevent Australia striking a boundary. The game had not advanced at all since its inception until Packer came along. Why don't people read the article correctly before placing their feet in their mouth and typing garbage.There is no doubt Australia, and even New Zealand didn't take the T20 express as seriously as other countries, you only have to look at the 2005 game between to see the clothing, wigs names used and general carefree attitude to see they didn't take it too seriously. Well said Matty Hayden. .

  • Simon on June 14, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    It's about how the matches are ordered. Tests are still the ultimate, and any player that says they would rather play T20s than tests is either A) injured to the point of falling apart or B not a particularly good player and thus needs the inherent randomness of T20 to provide an illusion of grand skill when slogging with a bit of luck is what they are doing.

    The best T20 batsman don't slog. Usually the ones that have learn't their trade in a hard test landscape have the skill to place the ball so don't need to go over the top and risk losiung a wicket. Just look at Sachin.

    Anyway, my orginal point about match orders is that things need the right build up. An ideal series should be 1-3 T20s, 3-5 ODIs and 3-5 Tests. the focus should be on building up to the Test series as the grand finale. ODIs or T20s as the finale are too short and therefore become a boring anticlimax.

  • david on June 14, 2010, 9:51 GMT


  • Syed on June 14, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    Ok Guys I totally agree with Mathew Hayden that " we should make cricket more exciting". And yes he is right when he talks about 5 test matches 7 ODIs and 2 T20s being too much cricket with the same opposition in a tour, its so boring. Just to make cricket more interesting and worth to spend our valuable time, I think that there should be 1 test match 3 ODIs and 2 T2O in each tour ....It will make all formats of the game worth watching and there will be no danger to any one format for being eliminated. Who is Agree with me ?

  • Graeme on June 14, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Hayden is just speaking the flaming obvious here, and I hope he gets listened to by those 'greater minds'. I would love to see England playing a total of 11 international games per summer [5 tests, 3 ODIs, 3 T20s] rather than the 22 we get this summer. In the same way that county cricket is messed up and serves the financiers rather than the fans, international cricket is now bloated and unstructured. Like the ECB taking the Sky money, this short-sighted greed has diluted and hidden the product. Great job.

  • Jehan on June 14, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Maybe ODIs should follow rugby like the tri nations, 6 nations. They are similar sports in that there are a similar number of good teams. This might create more interest instead of pointless bilateral 7 odi series which become meaningless towards the end if they are one sided. eg australia's last 2 odi series in india and their last one in england. The Asia cup is a good example. There should also be more T20s and a few less odis. It seems ridiculous to me that a build up to a world cup consists of 4 or 5 games. Thats nowhere near enough to get ur best team out and hone ur skills.

  • Jaminda on June 14, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Yes totally agree with Hayden. But CA is making a mistake by having Micheal Clarke as the 20-20 captain. Cameron White is the most suited to captain 20-20 game for Australia and he has shown cthis in the state 20-20 tournament. And Shaun Marsh needs to take Micheal Clarke's position in batting. Clarke is not a 20-20 player like Ponting. he should play only one dayers and tests. After Ponting he should take over as captain but he needs to have patience to stay so.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    You guys arguing about what Hayden said (Australia invented 50 over format) should read the first paragraph of the article again. Hayden doesnt say that at all, the article publisher put that opinion in, if Hayden said that it would be in a quote. What he did say - KP invented the 'product' of 50 over cricket - KP promoted it and made it a professional game.(Which is correct) Anyhow, I agree whole heartedly with Hayden. Australia was slow to recognise T20s potential, it was only this summer just gone when the domestic comp really took off. 50 over format in its current form is dead. The overs from 15-40 are mostly about watching a couple of batmen push singles...its predictable and dull. Changing the 50 over game to 2 innings of 20-25 overs is counter productive, it ruins the format. I would like to see fielding restrictions in place for the whole 50 overs. Get rid of those stupid powerplays and just make it easy. That way a team could bat excitingly at any time during the innings.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    What Hayden told in his speech is one hundred per cent correct as far as my concern. ICC should reduce the size of the tour by reducing matches and hosting triangle series that could also reduce players' burden of playing too many matches. It facilitates spectators to cheerful contests.

  • No featured comments at the moment.