Hayden named ODI Player of the Year
Matthew Hayden has completed a remarkable limited-overs comeback, winning the ODI Player of the Year award in Johannesburg. Hayden, 35, had been mostly overlooked for Australia's one-day team since the 2005 tour of England but he won a reprieve when Australia's new opener, Shane Watson, missed the CB Series through injury in January.
Hayden grabbed his chances and played no small part in making sure his side took top honours at the World Cup in the West Indies. His dominance is shown in the statistics. He topped the averages with 62.18 in 26 matches, having scored 1368 runs, more than anyone else during the voting period (August 9, 2006 to August 8, 2007).
In that time he scored more centuries than any other ODI batsman (five) including a top score of 181 not out, and all with a strike-rate of 87.69 runs per hundred balls. He has been a colossus at the top of the order for Australia and with Adam Gilchrist he has formed one of the most dynamic opening partnerships in the history of ODI cricket.
Accepting his award, Hayden said: "It is a great honour for me to receive this award. It's not so long ago that my place in the side was far from certain so this is very pleasing for me. Batting with Adam Gilchrist is always fun. I suppose the style we adopt could be regarded as risky and it's definitely something we have talked about.
"For us it's not about fifties and hundreds. For teams like Australia scoring rates are more important, getting the team off to a good start so that the guys coming in can make the most of it. It has been a great year for me and for the team so I am delighted to pick up this award."
ICC president Ray Mali said: "On behalf of the ICC I would like to congratulate Matthew on winning this award. Matthew has been one of the best batsmen in all forms of the game for many, many years and there can be no doubt that he deserves this award. It is amazing to think that not so long ago he had been briefly left out of the Australia one-day side. His performances at the World Cup, in particular, were outstanding and his ability to perform when it matters most is crucial."
Hayden beat off the challenge of team-mates Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath to secure the award. Last year his team-mate Michael Hussey took home the prize, England's Kevin Pietersen had the honour in 2005 and in 2004 it went to Pietersen's England colleague Andrew Flintoff.