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July 24, 2011
Matthew Hayden, the former Australia opener, is in the final stages of negotiations to play for the Brisbane Heat in the expanded Twenty20 Big Bash League next summer.
Having last played competitively as part of Chennai Super Kings' Champions League-winning team in South Africa in 2010, Hayden, 39, is close to inking a deal that would see him play a key role for the Heat, potentially opening the batting with New Zealand's Brendon McCullum.
To do so Hayden would have to relinquish his position on the boards of both Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket, but according to a report in the Courier Mail in Brisbane this is something he is happy to accept.
"Things are heading in the right direction but obviously we have some important issues to work through on Sunday so it's not there yet," Geoffrey Schukraft, executive director of Hayden's company, The Hayden Way, told the newspaper.
"Matthew has said for some time that he sees Twenty20 and franchise cricket as the future of the game. This project promotes a lot of things that The Hayden Way is all about, such as healthy lifestyles and families getting outside and having fun.
"If we can clinch a deal he would be a terrific ambassador for the competition. The fans would love it."
Talks surrounding Hayden will also include the possibility of his company becoming involved as a private investor in the Heat in the future, although for the first season only the Sydney and Melbourne teams have been opened to the possibility of outside ownership.
Hayden's contemporaries Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, still part of the Indian Premier League in 2011, have declined to re-open their T20 careers in Australia, preferring to concentrate on other business interests and family life.
One former Australian player with a chance of participating for Brisbane is the allrounder Andrew Symonds, though no agreement has yet been reached. The Heat's coach Darren Lehmann is leaving some room on his squad list for later additions, of which Symonds may be one.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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