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Matthew Hayden, who held the record for the fastest World Cup hundred before Kevin O’Brien decided it was open season on England’s bowlers, was possibly the last man to hear about it. Hayden was working with a remote and isolated community in the Tropical Top End called Tiwi Island, and had no idea he had been relegated to second-best in the history books until five minutes before the start of the Tiwi Island Land Council meeting. That’s when, Hayden writes in DNA, the chairman of the council, Cyril Rioli, stood up and said, “Hey Matty, did you hear about the Irish fella who broke your record overnight?”
“No, I didn’t, tell me more.”
“This bloke almost single-handedly beat the English, scoring 113 in the game and getting them out of trouble. Pity about your record too. He smashed your record, beating it by 10 balls or something.”
At first, Hayden couldn’t process the news. England had buried Australia in the Ashes and here was this guy telling him that some Irish bloke had not only smashed his record, but smashed England as well. It just didn’t seem possible. But once he accepted that it had, in fact, happened, Hayden said he was “delighted for Kevin and that I wish I could get a note out to him, reflecting my thoughts to that effect at first convenient opportunity.”
Tariq Engineer is a former senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Tariq Engineer
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