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July 24, 2009
Matthew Hayden has planned to set up a youth academy in Chennai and wants to take the help of Rahul Dravid and his Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming in the venture.
Hayden said he had decided to give back to the city where he had practised playing on turning tracks ten years ago on Australia's 2000-01 tour to India. "About a decade back, when I came here to practise on turning tracks, I told myself standing in an empty Chepauk stadium that I would score a century for Australia one day," Hayden told the Times of India. "I did that, and now this is a way of giving something back to the city from where I have got so much."
Hayden said education would be given equal importance to cricket in the academy. "We should be able to understand that the kids who will be training in the academy may not go on to become cricketers in life. Education is something they can always fall back on."
Hayden said he had spoken to Dravid about the academy when they were playing in the IPL in South Africa earlier this year. "Rahul Dravid has those values in him which I can also identify with … and I would surely love to have him with me."
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh has been involved in charity projects in India, especially in Kolkata, and has been an inspiration to Hayden. "I have always been inspired by the way Steve worked for Udayan in Kolkata. Similarly, I am also looking forward to do something for Chennai."
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