Michael Jeh July 25, 2011

The Hayden way

Matthew Hayden has come out of retirement to sign up with Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League
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Matthew Hayden has come out of retirement to sign up with Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League. My first reaction was ...’gosh, not sure how to react!’ The Hayden Way (as his company is called) is a brand that clearly trades on his reputation for being tough and uncompromising, winning at all costs. Wonder how history and hindsight will judge this reincarnation?

I've known Matt since we were both young men, both of us trying to break into First Grade cricket in Brisbane. I was a couple of years senior to him and had already played for the first team when he burst on to the scene and "announced himself". And I mean, announced himself. Whereas my goals, in keeping with my talent, were fairly modest, Matt suffered from no such inferiority complex. Blessed with enormous self-confidence, a powerful physique and a work ethic to match, I watched this young pup write his own autobiography in his mind and then fulfill it. It was quite a bizarre way to live the dream - he wrote the script, convinced himself that it was his destiny and, despite many who doubted him, went on to live the dream.

Early doors, I must confess that I feared for this perceived arrogance. As the runs piled up, after he predicted they would, that fear grew into a kind of morbid admiration. I realised soon enough that his self-belief wasn't so much arrogance as utter confidence in himself. I shared too many dressing rooms with him early in his career to put it down to a fluke. The guy was just on a different planet when it came to making bold statements about scoring big runs and then backing it up in totally emphatic fashion. When he returned to the dressing room to our congratulations, his reaction suggested there was no relief or sense of vindication in his own mind. It was more like a sense of "well, what did you expect? I told you I'd get some today. What's so surprising about that"?

I remember taking him to see a Test Match at the Gabba in 1989. Aravinda De Silva scored a slow century and Asoka De Silva (of umpiring fame these days) batted for some time as a nightwatchman, eking out runs until he got cleaned up just before lunch. It was fairly ponderous going by today's standards but not ridiculously slow batting in the context of Test cricket at the time. Halfway through the day, Matthew got up from his seat, thanked me for the free ticket and said "this is just bull****. When I play for Australia, I'm not going to allow anyone to tie me down like this. I'm not going to sit here and watch this rubbish".

And true to his word, he rarely allowed anyone to tie him down. He might have holed out trying to break the shackles but every time he batted in Test cricket, I was reminded of this young man who had barely started playing senior club cricket, telling himself that this was "bull****". Renowned later on in his career for much more colourful language than this, he nonetheless batted in this vein throughout his career, always looking to dominate and refusing to allow the innings to drift aimlessly. It is that sort of memory that makes me hesitate about writing off this latest comeback.

I suppose at some point age will catch up with self-belief and he might make one rash statement too many. Maybe this will be his Waterloo. There will be many around the world who frowned upon the abrasive way he played the game but don't let that emotion be confused with doubting his ability to succeed at something he puts his mind to. It certainly wasn't the way I played my cricket. I did not have the talent or inclination to play the game The Hayden Way but what I did learn from him was that self-belief can be the most potent drug in sport.

There's still a little bit of me that wonders if he can pull off this latest stunt but I'm not prepared to bet against it. Yes, I wonder why he's risking his reputation at this stage to get knocked over by some fresh-faced youngsters, and, yes, I wonder if his reputation or bank balance really needs this adrenaline surge but one thing's for sure - you can be 100% convinced that Matt Hayden truly believes that Matt Hayden will score big runs. He knows no other way of thinking. That is his brand.That is The Hayden Way.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Emmly on December 24, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    Your aneswr lifts the intelligence of the debate.

  • Des on October 1, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    That would be a damp squib Ramesh. A squib is a type of firework so the expectation is that there will be an explosion but when damp it will simply smoke a little and fail to go off. Much like master Hayden one suspects.

  • peter christensen on September 23, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    If that man really wants it...he will get it again.

  • tenzin on September 14, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    agree with sunil and big fella

  • Sunil on August 10, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    Waterbuffalo, you're comments resemble the product of the backend of the waterbuffalo. Neutral umpires were actually introduced by Imran Khan who invited John Holder and John Hampshire to officiate a Pakistan vs India series. I'd further draw your attention to Mike Gatting's and Alan Border's difficulties with umpiring on the sub-continent. By the way neutral umpiring has slightly lifted the win rates of home teams.

  • LeftArmOver on July 29, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    your kidding yourself "waterbuffalo". the reason we have neutral umpires isnt because of australians, its because visiting teams to the Sub-Continent couldnt get an LBW decision. I wish Haydos all the best, as its exactly what the BBL needs and that some iconic players. Bring back Gilly & Warney while we are at it.

  • Michael Johnson on July 26, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Well written Fox.. Matthew Hayden will prove to be an enormous success in the big bash. Not only does Haydos have great confidence in his ability, his work ethic is second to none. There is no doubt he will be hitting thousands of balls on the bowling machine leading into the season.. Matthew will once again dominate!!

  • Mkumaran on July 26, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    Never compare Haydos with sanath.....haydos is gonna pull off one of the greatest comeback as he did it for CSK....come on Haydos show....all the best....

  • Nalin on July 26, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Well written Michael,Hope you remembered me

  • waterbuffalo on July 26, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Hayden was probably the most hated figure in Aussie cricket, and for good reason, I doubt that he would be welcomed with open arms in England, South Africa, India , Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He embodied the worst of Australian cricket. Don't forget, the whole world hated Australia for a long time, because they were graceless, arrogant and full of themselves, and we all saw the Aussie umpires giving them the most ridiculous LBW and caught decisions. The reason why Umpires have to be neutral is because of Australia, never forget that. Australia changed umpiring forever, I hope you're proud of that.

  • Emmly on December 24, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    Your aneswr lifts the intelligence of the debate.

  • Des on October 1, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    That would be a damp squib Ramesh. A squib is a type of firework so the expectation is that there will be an explosion but when damp it will simply smoke a little and fail to go off. Much like master Hayden one suspects.

  • peter christensen on September 23, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    If that man really wants it...he will get it again.

  • tenzin on September 14, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    agree with sunil and big fella

  • Sunil on August 10, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    Waterbuffalo, you're comments resemble the product of the backend of the waterbuffalo. Neutral umpires were actually introduced by Imran Khan who invited John Holder and John Hampshire to officiate a Pakistan vs India series. I'd further draw your attention to Mike Gatting's and Alan Border's difficulties with umpiring on the sub-continent. By the way neutral umpiring has slightly lifted the win rates of home teams.

  • LeftArmOver on July 29, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    your kidding yourself "waterbuffalo". the reason we have neutral umpires isnt because of australians, its because visiting teams to the Sub-Continent couldnt get an LBW decision. I wish Haydos all the best, as its exactly what the BBL needs and that some iconic players. Bring back Gilly & Warney while we are at it.

  • Michael Johnson on July 26, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Well written Fox.. Matthew Hayden will prove to be an enormous success in the big bash. Not only does Haydos have great confidence in his ability, his work ethic is second to none. There is no doubt he will be hitting thousands of balls on the bowling machine leading into the season.. Matthew will once again dominate!!

  • Mkumaran on July 26, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    Never compare Haydos with sanath.....haydos is gonna pull off one of the greatest comeback as he did it for CSK....come on Haydos show....all the best....

  • Nalin on July 26, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Well written Michael,Hope you remembered me

  • waterbuffalo on July 26, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Hayden was probably the most hated figure in Aussie cricket, and for good reason, I doubt that he would be welcomed with open arms in England, South Africa, India , Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He embodied the worst of Australian cricket. Don't forget, the whole world hated Australia for a long time, because they were graceless, arrogant and full of themselves, and we all saw the Aussie umpires giving them the most ridiculous LBW and caught decisions. The reason why Umpires have to be neutral is because of Australia, never forget that. Australia changed umpiring forever, I hope you're proud of that.

  • Big Fella on July 26, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    @ramesh - Jayasuriya had a national government, in which he was an MP, include him in the national side. To describe that as pathetic would be an understatement. This being a franchise, city-based system, Hayden's playing is a clever way of attracting QLD cricket fans to follow the new franchise, like Tendulkar with Mumbai - the both men are icons in their respective teams' hometowns.

    @"hyclass" - he has already resigned both Board posts with Queensland Cricket and CA prior to attempting to purchase an interest in the Brisbane Heat. Further, if there was any issue of insider trading, it would warrant investigation by ASIC, NOT the ACCC.

    All that aside, a good article reflecting some of the origins of Hayden's belligerent style. Someone with that level of self-confidence would ordinarily be considered arrogant and a braggart. This article effectively demosntrates how he was able to recover so emphatically from his initially being dropped from the test-side in the early nineties.

  • Tim Rilestone on July 26, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    I agree with Prashad! Haddo's has lost hair and gained weight

  • bobbydavro on July 25, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    I think Hayden's unpleasant response to Aravinda da Silva, one of the games real greats, doing something other than bullying average attacks on flat pitches demonstrates that, whilst he may be fondly remembered in Australia, he remains loathed in pretty much every other corner of the cricketing world.

  • smudgeon on July 25, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    I never really liked Hayden that much when he played for Australia, and I'm not interested in seeing him in the BBL. But it's not about pleasing me, and no doubt there are plenty of people out there who would like to see Hayden again, willow in hand. Good luck to him - after a couple of years out of top level cricket, he'll need it.

  • Srini on July 25, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    I feel his business interests might have persuaded him to try his hand out on the field one more time. After all, what better way to advertise it than with on field success!. Even though he hasn't been actively playing at any serious level since 2010 IPL, he must be feeling confident of his chances, or else he wouldn't be trying now. Anyway, I wish him good luck.

  • David on July 25, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @Ramesh its actually damp "squib" mate, not "squid" but I agree with you none the less. I have heard a few stories about Hayden that share similar themes. Sort of like a prizefighters mindset really. I dont think he is alone on the international scene in having either. By all accounts KP is very similar.

  • James Kuwanda on July 25, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Good going Heydos, welcome back. This is a wonderful piece, well written. Let's all emulate the Hayden way of doing things.

  • safwan on July 25, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    michael i never knew that you played competitive cricket ... :) .... anyways, this was an outstanding piece, brilliantly detailed yet succinct. now we know a lot more about haydos. I always enjoyed watching him bat. he and langer were the only two openers who never flinched in the eye of genuine pace bowling.

  • hyclass on July 25, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    Very well written article and a brilliant insight.I feel that by exposing his business motives and aligning his so-called healthy lifestyle business image,with a fast food company,that his reputation has already taken a hit.I wonder at the the legality of him being a joint proposer of the BBL as a board member of CA and Queensland Cricket and a convener of a possible franchise.It seems a blatant conflict of interests with australian cricket interests at stake and a possible case of insider trading.In any event,as a business proposition,it warrants investigation by the ACCC.It seems possible that his only motivation in playing is to connect his image with the franchise before retirement.Regardless,he made 95 runs total in his last nine games for Chennai in the IPL.If he succeeds now,they can feel duly duped,given his apparent ability to score runs at will.The IPL is also well below test and oneday standard.Like Greg Chappell more recently,Hayden just became a lot less great for me.

  • Jeba on July 25, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    good post !! Hayden is one of my favorite players... I hope he succeeds in this endeavor...would love to see him play again for chennai super kings :-)

  • Ramesh on July 25, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    This will turn out to be another damp squid..just like Jayasuriya's attempt.

  • J Prashad on July 25, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    Apparently 'haydos' spent all his money on renovations and he needs the money, sad really! I cant see him doing well, i like him but hes gained 10-15kg and looksreally old, lost his rep! I hope he does ok but not looking likley

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  • J Prashad on July 25, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    Apparently 'haydos' spent all his money on renovations and he needs the money, sad really! I cant see him doing well, i like him but hes gained 10-15kg and looksreally old, lost his rep! I hope he does ok but not looking likley

  • Ramesh on July 25, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    This will turn out to be another damp squid..just like Jayasuriya's attempt.

  • Jeba on July 25, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    good post !! Hayden is one of my favorite players... I hope he succeeds in this endeavor...would love to see him play again for chennai super kings :-)

  • hyclass on July 25, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    Very well written article and a brilliant insight.I feel that by exposing his business motives and aligning his so-called healthy lifestyle business image,with a fast food company,that his reputation has already taken a hit.I wonder at the the legality of him being a joint proposer of the BBL as a board member of CA and Queensland Cricket and a convener of a possible franchise.It seems a blatant conflict of interests with australian cricket interests at stake and a possible case of insider trading.In any event,as a business proposition,it warrants investigation by the ACCC.It seems possible that his only motivation in playing is to connect his image with the franchise before retirement.Regardless,he made 95 runs total in his last nine games for Chennai in the IPL.If he succeeds now,they can feel duly duped,given his apparent ability to score runs at will.The IPL is also well below test and oneday standard.Like Greg Chappell more recently,Hayden just became a lot less great for me.

  • safwan on July 25, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    michael i never knew that you played competitive cricket ... :) .... anyways, this was an outstanding piece, brilliantly detailed yet succinct. now we know a lot more about haydos. I always enjoyed watching him bat. he and langer were the only two openers who never flinched in the eye of genuine pace bowling.

  • James Kuwanda on July 25, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Good going Heydos, welcome back. This is a wonderful piece, well written. Let's all emulate the Hayden way of doing things.

  • David on July 25, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @Ramesh its actually damp "squib" mate, not "squid" but I agree with you none the less. I have heard a few stories about Hayden that share similar themes. Sort of like a prizefighters mindset really. I dont think he is alone on the international scene in having either. By all accounts KP is very similar.

  • Srini on July 25, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    I feel his business interests might have persuaded him to try his hand out on the field one more time. After all, what better way to advertise it than with on field success!. Even though he hasn't been actively playing at any serious level since 2010 IPL, he must be feeling confident of his chances, or else he wouldn't be trying now. Anyway, I wish him good luck.

  • smudgeon on July 25, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    I never really liked Hayden that much when he played for Australia, and I'm not interested in seeing him in the BBL. But it's not about pleasing me, and no doubt there are plenty of people out there who would like to see Hayden again, willow in hand. Good luck to him - after a couple of years out of top level cricket, he'll need it.

  • bobbydavro on July 25, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    I think Hayden's unpleasant response to Aravinda da Silva, one of the games real greats, doing something other than bullying average attacks on flat pitches demonstrates that, whilst he may be fondly remembered in Australia, he remains loathed in pretty much every other corner of the cricketing world.