January 17, 2009

Australian cricket

‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hayden back in business

Peter English
Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden try their hand at fishing, Prickly Bay, Grenada, April 17, 2007
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Matthew Hayden’s retirement means he can now look forward to a life of varied commercial interests, Peter Lalor reports in the Australian.

Hayden might be the most marketable retired cricketer in the world. He is an icon in Queensland, all over Australia, India and elsewhere. He is Steve Irwin with 30 centuries. He is a fisherman, a keen barbecue chef, a Christian, a father and the sort of man prime ministers can't wait to meet. Last week he managed 13,000 media mentions - twice that of any politician, including Kevin Rudd [Australia’s prime minister] ...

"Matt wore his tie and suit for the big announcement, but he was straight into the thongs and boardies when it was done,” David Croft of Hayden’s management group said. “That's Matt. He can do both things, but he is an outdoors man. He is a cross between Steve Irwin and Crocodile Dundee, maybe with a bit of Rex Hunt thrown in.”

There was a Matthew Hayden who walked onto a cricket ground. He snarled, made snide comments at the opposition, waded into their bowling and intimidated people. It was felt he wasn't such a nice guy to know and maybe that's how it was out in the middle. But there was another Matthew Hayden who greeted you warmly, enquired if all was well, was sensitive and had many interests, writes Harsha Bhogle on ESPNStar.

Over in the Dominion Post, the Canterbury coach Bob Carter recalls a memorable spell with Hayden, whose career forms a big part of Carter's ultimate coaching philosophy. When Carter was appointed to a second spell as Northamptonshire coach in 1999, the first thing he did was fly to Brisbane to sound out Hayden.

Mike Coward, in his column in the Australian, looks at the amazing record of David Warner, another big-hitting left-handed opener, after he became the first cricketer since March 1877 to represent Australia without first appearing in the first-class arena.

Peter English is former Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo

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