December 25, 2008

How good is Haydos?

Matthew Hayden has played the muscular biffer, pillaging mostly average attacks with great success. Is he among the greatest openers, as his figures seem to indicate?
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Hayden is better than just about every other opener in history - on paper © AFP

Far out in Kingaroy, Queensland's peanut-growing heartland, Gary Hayden used to rehearse leaving the ball. His young brother Matthew, to Gary's consternation, would almost never let a ball go unhammered, and he has done a lot of hammering and not much leaving ever since. The result is a batting average as bulging as his sun-browned forearms. Bigger than Victor Trumper, Bill Ponsford, Arthur Morris, Hanif Mohammad, Bob Simpson, Bill Lawry, Geoff Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Gordon Greenidge, Graham Gooch, Desmond Haynes. Bigger than nearly every opening batsman in history's daydreams. Bigger than 50. Fifty-one-point-three-four. It is a good average.

"Poor Matthew Hayden looked as comfortable as a white man on an unescorted tour of a black township." So wrote Age sage Peter McFarline, gazing down on the slingshots and slitherers of Allan Donald and Fanie de Villiers, when Hayden played Test cricket for the first time. And it is McFarline's words, rather than 51.34, that sum up the man's batting right now, as he fronts up for the 102nd time, and for what any dark day soon could be the last time.

Nearly three years skipped by after that hostile beginning at Johannesburg's Bullring. At last Hayden surfaced once more. Bill Lawry, in his second Test, had scraped out 130 at Lord's, battered black and blue on a pitch not merely green but sporting an unmistakable ridge at the Nursery End. Hayden, in his, got clobbered on the elbow and stuttered to 5. Fifth ball of the second innings, a Curtly Ambrose straight one, pitched on off stump and deviated not a centimetre. Instead of hammering it, Hayden yanked his bat up high and left it.

The MCG laughed, and he was discarded soon after, for three more years. He returned not as Hayden, but Haydos. Feet a yard out of the crease, battleaxe at the ready, bottom sticking out, chest puffed up, a mound of muscle between breastbone and neck, covering his stumps like a sightscreen on tree trunks… With a pinch more imagination, team-mates might have nicknamed him Haydox.

Hundreds piled up, against Indians, New Zealanders, South Africans. When he got to 100, he'd draw a cross in the air, then shoot for 200. Someone from the formerly critical press pack asked him what had changed. Hayden's first thought, as Greg Baum has observed, was to reply: "Only your mind."

For how long he thought it, and whether he went close to actually saying it, no one knows. But the thought was, on reflection, a touch too hubristic. For one significant change, seldom remarked on, was that Hayden's earliest tormentors - Donald and de Villiers; Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop - had all conked out. Shaun Pollock's zippiest days were behind him, Chris Cairns' too. The few lethal quicks still in circulation were playing on the same side as Hayden.

More hundreds poured forth, against Pakistanis, Poms, West Indians, Zimbabweans - Zimbabweans especially. Haydox was unrammable. All those hours under the sun made his skin glow almost orange; when he took off his helmet, sweaty tufts of hair spiking out in every direction, it was as if Queensland's own Giant Pineapple was bestriding the crease. No critic now thought to query what had changed. But Hayden himself remembered his three seasons of county cricket, not long ago, when bowlers kept ducking balls into his pads and he kept slugging them through midwicket. Was that what had changed - had he converted a weakness into a strength? Or was it that Test bowlers were now bowling like county bowlers?

Nineteen Test hundreds was his career's haystack coming up to the 2005 Ashes tour. A couple against India, in 2001, twinkled brightest, two fits of sweeping so majestic as to put Cinderella out of business. Another, his Boxing Day 102 against England, made hearts beat faster under blue singlets. When Craig White bowled to Hayden, spectators beyond the long-on fence jumped for their lives, twice. He was elegantly violent that day. None of these hundreds passed the classic test of greatness: a bewitching pace attack, a tricky pitch, a team in trouble. But that was surely to do with circumstances, not Hayden, and something an Ashes tour would surely rectify.

 
 
He returned not as Hayden, but Haydos. Feet a yard out of the crease, battleaxe at the ready, bottom sticking out, chest puffed up, a mound of muscle between breastbone and neck, covering his stumps like a sightscreen on tree trunks
 

England had Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard, and for four Tests Hayden had the horrors. In the fifth Test he played an innings most curious. He edged and groped and miscued and scratched at imaginary scuff marks and edged some more. Australia needed desperately to win. But Hayden went off twice for bad light and was outscored by Justin Langer and draped 138 runs over three murk-affected days. And when the Test was over, the Ashes lost, the selectors let him stay in the team.

The hundreds resumed, at the same rate as before, built on the same method too: one giant step forward, then one brutal swing. He made half the textbook look obsolete. Back-foot play? Why bother, mate? The bowlers once more had a happy malleability about them. The trends of the time seemed to suit him: helmets, dead pitches, few quicks, fewer swingers. The old West Indian awesome foursome was by now a clueless threesome. Dillons, Drakeses, Collinses, Lawsons, Blignauts, Ervines, Mahwires, Agarkars, Nehras and Zoysas abounded. Hayden hundreds abounded, as well.

And then, three months ago, he encountered a bowler named Zaheer. Another named Ishant. Then Southee and Steyn and Ntini. And when critics now ask him what has changed in three months, it is possible he still thinks: "Only your mind."

He never did play an innings like Bill Lawry's at the Battle of the Ridge in 1961. When we think of audacious openers, we picture Gavaskar perplexing irate West Indians under his skull cap and sunhat, Gooch clipping bouncers off his moustache, Hanif swaying and blocking for 16 hours while most others quailed, Trumper whistling up centuries before lunch on uncovered English mudheaps.

It is safer perhaps not to put Hayden a rung above them. Safer simply to note that he has given us rich entertainment and hit many hundreds. To entertain and make hundreds in hard situations against great fast bowlers, you need to see those bowlers off sometimes. You need to know when to hammer, when to leave. Or else you get peanuts.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TheDoctor394 on December 28, 2008, 21:10 GMT

    Despite not being an Australian fan, I have followed Matthew Hayden's career right from the start - quite literally, actually. I was one of the few hundred who saw Hayden's Sheffield Shield debut at the Gabba in 1991, where he scored a century, playing like he'd been doing it from birth. Taking opposition into account is certainly an understandable thing to do when weighing up a player's quality, but surely a man who is averaging more than 50 in 100+ Tests must be seen as great? He never faced Australian bowling, no, but Viv Richard never faced the fearsome West Indian bowlers of the seventies and eighties either. Does that mean Richards was not a great? Try telling that to all the bowlers who were pulverised by him. Maybe, at times, I rely too much on statistics, but I remain convinced that they don't lie in this case. Matthew Hayden is Australia's greatest ever opener, and one of the greatest of all.

  • uknsaunders on December 28, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    Agree with the author in one significant respect. Hayden made his name bullying poor attacks. His 375 was made on a flat perth track against zimbarbwe, which was hardly his fault. At the beginning of his career and later in 2005 onwards he was found out. I watched 2005 ashes and it was almost embarrassing he was still playing at the oval such was the mess england had made of his technique. Indeed had Jones been fit, his career might have finished in 2005, such was the fortunate nature of that painful hundred. So, yes he was a good cricketer but he benefit from flat tracks and a magnificent bowling unit in his side. He's not in the greats - they played at their best in adversity.

  • mumfoda on December 28, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    Not a very convincing piece Christian It is easy to look back over the career of any great player and highlight his failures and belittle his achievements to come up with an argument to suggest that he is overated. Not so easy to score 30 test hundreds....in any era! The FACT is that Hayden has performed very well as an opener against most attacks in most conditions over the past seven years and deserves to be regarded as one of the best openers of the modern era.

  • futurecaptainofindia on December 28, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    Hayden has scored runs in all formats against all opposition at all venues, save in England. His burly frame, brusque (mis)demeanour on the field, batting position & style, in every aspect epitomised the manner of Australia's dominance under Waugh & Ponting.

    That said, the epithet "great" does not sit comfortably on his rather broad shoulders. While I did not see Gavaskar bat, neither Greenidge nor Haynes, I would be loathe to include Hayden in the pantheon of cricketing legends. He will walk into the Test 11 of the 2000s, but thats about it. He is where Graeme Smith seems to be heading. Very Very Good, but always on the brink of batting immortality.

  • immortalpop on December 27, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    The big blunder for me is Ryan's attempt of using the idea of context with a statistical analysis of Hayden, and using Bill Lawry at his example of the other end of the spectrum. If we apply the use of context to Mr Lawry, then why not look at the tail end of his career where he was an abject failure in both his talent as an opening batsman and as a captain (he was sacked). It's been convincingly argued here that comparing Hayden or any cricketer with past players and conditions is folly. He has made many excellent performances with the bat over a long period of time against the best players of his generation so that alone makes him a great. How can you belittle him if he averages 250 against Zimbabwe? Who else has? Against the team with greatest wicket taker in history he averages 51. "Hayden concentrated way too hard on breaking it (the record)" Don't kid yourself if you think Lara was batting for anything else in the two dead rubbers he made both records in. cont'd ...

  • CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on December 27, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    well let us accept one fact.. hayden is and was always a tema man..not like Lara or Dravid ,as sometimes u feel like they r only playing for records..hats off to him..

  • Gilliana on December 27, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    Com'on, Christian Ryan. I am an Australian and will never agree with what you say. Don't prop Hayden as the best because like you, he is Australian. As an Australian I do not back Australia because of their bad sportsmanship and boorish behaviour. How can you put that redneck ahead of Gavaskar and those tremendous West India openers, Hayes and Greenridge. Currently Gambhir and Sehwag are the best. At 38, Hayden has got the batsman's menopause and should retire.

  • Rajesh. on December 27, 2008, 10:45 GMT

    Anyone who says Sunny Gavaskar's runs are not as worthy as they seem to be or that it has come against weak attacks were either too young then to have watched Sunny or they are just insane ! Records do not always tell the tale, as in the case of Viv Richards who averaged just above 50 but in my opinion one of the best ever. But in Sunny's case his records reveal more than they hide................. And, by the way the debate here is about Hayden & surely he is among the best. Everyone is entitled to their opinion & so am I..... It's my personal point of view that Sunny has been the best !!

  • anton1234 on December 27, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Lot of people say Hayden did not face McGrath and Warne, but, in fact, he has an excellent record against both when he played against them a lot in the early to mid 1990s in domestic cricket. His initial foray into test cricket was beset by nerves, like quite few other players are when they first step into international cricket.

    Kallis' first 7-8 matches garnered him only 150-odd runs. I bet my life Hayden would have taken Ambrose, Bishop and others to the cleaners like he took so many bowlers from 2001.

  • beefysandip on December 27, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    For God's sake,stop comparing players from the past era to the modern ones.We can't compare at all.Comparing the lazy and boring Gavaskar and Boycott to dashing openers doesn't do any justice to the article. Every player hits a lean patch and Hayden is just going through this and if one has followed carefully he has been a victim of some awful decisions and few run-outs.Dismissing his achievement as something below average and achieved against below par attacks shows how unprepared the writer has been.Critics thrive on these kinda statements and articles .However,this article is a total biased one -underprepared,non-commendable and crap.

  • TheDoctor394 on December 28, 2008, 21:10 GMT

    Despite not being an Australian fan, I have followed Matthew Hayden's career right from the start - quite literally, actually. I was one of the few hundred who saw Hayden's Sheffield Shield debut at the Gabba in 1991, where he scored a century, playing like he'd been doing it from birth. Taking opposition into account is certainly an understandable thing to do when weighing up a player's quality, but surely a man who is averaging more than 50 in 100+ Tests must be seen as great? He never faced Australian bowling, no, but Viv Richard never faced the fearsome West Indian bowlers of the seventies and eighties either. Does that mean Richards was not a great? Try telling that to all the bowlers who were pulverised by him. Maybe, at times, I rely too much on statistics, but I remain convinced that they don't lie in this case. Matthew Hayden is Australia's greatest ever opener, and one of the greatest of all.

  • uknsaunders on December 28, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    Agree with the author in one significant respect. Hayden made his name bullying poor attacks. His 375 was made on a flat perth track against zimbarbwe, which was hardly his fault. At the beginning of his career and later in 2005 onwards he was found out. I watched 2005 ashes and it was almost embarrassing he was still playing at the oval such was the mess england had made of his technique. Indeed had Jones been fit, his career might have finished in 2005, such was the fortunate nature of that painful hundred. So, yes he was a good cricketer but he benefit from flat tracks and a magnificent bowling unit in his side. He's not in the greats - they played at their best in adversity.

  • mumfoda on December 28, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    Not a very convincing piece Christian It is easy to look back over the career of any great player and highlight his failures and belittle his achievements to come up with an argument to suggest that he is overated. Not so easy to score 30 test hundreds....in any era! The FACT is that Hayden has performed very well as an opener against most attacks in most conditions over the past seven years and deserves to be regarded as one of the best openers of the modern era.

  • futurecaptainofindia on December 28, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    Hayden has scored runs in all formats against all opposition at all venues, save in England. His burly frame, brusque (mis)demeanour on the field, batting position & style, in every aspect epitomised the manner of Australia's dominance under Waugh & Ponting.

    That said, the epithet "great" does not sit comfortably on his rather broad shoulders. While I did not see Gavaskar bat, neither Greenidge nor Haynes, I would be loathe to include Hayden in the pantheon of cricketing legends. He will walk into the Test 11 of the 2000s, but thats about it. He is where Graeme Smith seems to be heading. Very Very Good, but always on the brink of batting immortality.

  • immortalpop on December 27, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    The big blunder for me is Ryan's attempt of using the idea of context with a statistical analysis of Hayden, and using Bill Lawry at his example of the other end of the spectrum. If we apply the use of context to Mr Lawry, then why not look at the tail end of his career where he was an abject failure in both his talent as an opening batsman and as a captain (he was sacked). It's been convincingly argued here that comparing Hayden or any cricketer with past players and conditions is folly. He has made many excellent performances with the bat over a long period of time against the best players of his generation so that alone makes him a great. How can you belittle him if he averages 250 against Zimbabwe? Who else has? Against the team with greatest wicket taker in history he averages 51. "Hayden concentrated way too hard on breaking it (the record)" Don't kid yourself if you think Lara was batting for anything else in the two dead rubbers he made both records in. cont'd ...

  • CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on December 27, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    well let us accept one fact.. hayden is and was always a tema man..not like Lara or Dravid ,as sometimes u feel like they r only playing for records..hats off to him..

  • Gilliana on December 27, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    Com'on, Christian Ryan. I am an Australian and will never agree with what you say. Don't prop Hayden as the best because like you, he is Australian. As an Australian I do not back Australia because of their bad sportsmanship and boorish behaviour. How can you put that redneck ahead of Gavaskar and those tremendous West India openers, Hayes and Greenridge. Currently Gambhir and Sehwag are the best. At 38, Hayden has got the batsman's menopause and should retire.

  • Rajesh. on December 27, 2008, 10:45 GMT

    Anyone who says Sunny Gavaskar's runs are not as worthy as they seem to be or that it has come against weak attacks were either too young then to have watched Sunny or they are just insane ! Records do not always tell the tale, as in the case of Viv Richards who averaged just above 50 but in my opinion one of the best ever. But in Sunny's case his records reveal more than they hide................. And, by the way the debate here is about Hayden & surely he is among the best. Everyone is entitled to their opinion & so am I..... It's my personal point of view that Sunny has been the best !!

  • anton1234 on December 27, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Lot of people say Hayden did not face McGrath and Warne, but, in fact, he has an excellent record against both when he played against them a lot in the early to mid 1990s in domestic cricket. His initial foray into test cricket was beset by nerves, like quite few other players are when they first step into international cricket.

    Kallis' first 7-8 matches garnered him only 150-odd runs. I bet my life Hayden would have taken Ambrose, Bishop and others to the cleaners like he took so many bowlers from 2001.

  • beefysandip on December 27, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    For God's sake,stop comparing players from the past era to the modern ones.We can't compare at all.Comparing the lazy and boring Gavaskar and Boycott to dashing openers doesn't do any justice to the article. Every player hits a lean patch and Hayden is just going through this and if one has followed carefully he has been a victim of some awful decisions and few run-outs.Dismissing his achievement as something below average and achieved against below par attacks shows how unprepared the writer has been.Critics thrive on these kinda statements and articles .However,this article is a total biased one -underprepared,non-commendable and crap.

  • lodger67 on December 26, 2008, 20:26 GMT

    And FYI folks, for those who think Sunny never wore any protective gear, recall his standard playing gear from the mid-1980s: http://www.rediff.com/sports/1999/jul/09sun5.htm (if the link gets axed, Sunny designed his own protective headgear, wore a distinctively huge thigh pad, had a forearm guard, basically, all the standard gear for the day, he wore them throughout his later career). There was a time when no batsmen wore gloves or pads. Then wooden pads were invented. Did that mean the players who wore pads were lesser players than those who had come before? Then gloves were standardised. Does that make Jack Gregory's batting record, without gloves, superior to any player who played after him? To say that one player using protective gear diminishes his record is absurd. Either it diminishes all of his peers as well, or it diminishes nothing.

  • dar268 on December 26, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    No one outside Australia will mourn Hayden's demise. It's not his fault the great bowlers of the 1990s who had found Hayden out had departed by the time of his second coming but his pious attitude and sledging represented the worst Australia had to offer. His 50 average would have been 30 had he started ten years earlier.

  • Prats6 on December 26, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    Hadyen is THE BEST opener in world cricket right now, even better than Virender Sehwag, and I am an Indian, can we were lucky that he had some bad decisions throughout the series here. Seems luck is not going with him right. He is simply the best Test Opener in the contemporary era .. Marginally above Viru and better than Greame Smith.

    He is also surely one of the best ever openers that have played internationals. No Questions !

  • Accumulator on December 26, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    Sehwag must feature in one of the best openers of all time. He has faced almost all great bowlers including Australian bowlers and scored all over the world. Hayden does not seem to do too well when he sledged back or if someone doesn't let him bully on. He always seems to find excuses for failures, something that people like Sehwag or Gavaskar have not done.

  • mmoosa on December 26, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    Steve Waugh referred to Hayden in the past as one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time. His wicket is the one most prized by opposition and all spinners were mincemeat generally in all conditions with finger spinners particularly ineffectual. His leaving of the ball,running between the wickets,patience,power and dominance have demoralised every test cricket team.

  • nordictramp on December 26, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    This has got to be the most biased and ridiculous article i have seen for a long time from a supposedly profesional writer. The writer downplays Hayden's ability by focusing on the lack of quality bowlers that Hayden has faced over the last years and the number of batsmen freindly pitches that he has batted on.If ,for arguments sake, this is true then this must hold true for all batsmen during this period - Lara,Tendulkar,jayasuriya et al.Then, Hayden must supersede them all since he has scored more runs,more centuries and has been more consistent than any of these batsmen.During this period Hayden scored 1 century every 3 matches- better than Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting.Using these stats, then Hayden must be the best batsmen of his time.

  • sajid.dar on December 26, 2008, 13:45 GMT

    good article but the only thing i wud like to say is dat i guess the writer has started watching cricket just recently(from aus-ind series) otherwise how can he write such a stupid article bout MATT HAYDEN....one man whome bowlers around fear coz he does nt score runs he hammers dem....n the writer is comparing donald,ambrose with ishant,zaheer...geoff boycott absolute rooooobbish.

  • kupp on December 26, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    I see a lot of folks have come out in defence of Hayden and have attacked the author. However, as a West Indian, my recollection of Hayden is exactly this - when Amby was in full stride, Hayden was a non-entity, and absolutely not a threat. When Amby and Bish were replaced by Franklyn Rose and Reon King, and Walsh was down 10km/h on his pace, then he emerged as a great. I see people talking about how he faced a ring of bowlers like Kumble and Harbajhan at their best ... sorry, I never saw Kumble bowl a bouncer as lethal as Ian Bishop. And in relation to why other contemporary batsmen didn't score against the same attacks that Hayden did, well, it just goes to say that the other contemporary batsmen weren't great either. I have far more respect for Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart, who faced and fought against Wasim & Waqar, and Ambrose & Walsh & Bishop, and played tremendous innings against those attacks, full of character and grit. Sorry Haydos, but I agree.

  • abu_zayr on December 26, 2008, 9:16 GMT

    Rubbish article Chris! You only talk about stats, Haydos (as some call him) has barely scored anything against the Lankan at home.. How is that ?? He aian't no great! Chris you first para in the article is purely rubbish to compare with likes of gavaskar simpson & bill lawry to name a few on that list, haydos if i call him doesn't figure in that league of players(if someone were ask this, I'm sure we would say the same)

  • King99 on December 26, 2008, 9:08 GMT

    Main point is the one several have raised about Gavaskar--his runs against the West Indies were all against weak attacks. A debutant Malcom Marshall etc. And the Aussie attacks he faced were mediocre.So much there for Gavaskar.

  • anton1234 on December 26, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    Barring Ashes 2005 and of course his poor form this year, he has been the most dominant batsman in pretty much every major event that mattered. He was by far and away the leading scorer in the world cup 2007, same for the 20-20 world cup, same for the Australia Vs. World 11.

    But the innings that really sets him apart from many others is the one against Pakistan in Sharjah in a test match played in 50 degrees. No other player from either side scored a half century (Pakistan had 2 innings) in the whole match when he scored a brilliant century.

    Also, if Hayden played as carefully as Gavaskar did, I am sure he would have had a few more centuries to his name. Gavaskar was a selfish player who played for himself (though he was a brilliant player).

  • Steve. on December 26, 2008, 8:32 GMT

    I fully agree with the sentiments expressed here. I can think of no player of the modern game that has benefitted as much as Haydon from the introduction of helmets.

  • lodger67 on December 26, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    Folks, I never said Gavaskar was not a great batsman. I pointed out flaws in Ryan's argument. I do ask all of those who write that Hayden is not as great as players of yesteryear, who played without helmets, guards, or on uncovered pitches, consider that the same reasoning must surely apply to every other player of the last 20 years, Lara and Sachin included, who have also had the freedom to play with helmets, etc. To those who are arguing that the bowling stocks of the past decade have been at an all-time low, do we want to discount Murali, Kumble, Pollock, Wasim, Waqar, Vaas, and others who have played in this era? The stats are the same in every era since WW1, great batsmen avge in the high 40s to 50s, great bowlers avge in the 20s. Great batsmen also bully weaker opponents into complete submission, and great bowlers humiliate weak batting sides. It is absurd to say that Hayden only scored against weak sides and always struggled against better ones. He has done what all greats do.

  • Hodge008 on December 26, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    I'm sorry, I've loved your previous articles but this is rubbish. Statsguru might have told you that Hayden has played only two Tests against Zimbabwe. So where does this: "More hundreds poured forth, against Pakistanis, Poms, West Indians, Zimbabweans - Zimbabweans especially." come from. He scored two hundreds in his only two matches against them, and that makes him bad somehow? Can you please write another sensible article?

  • Amol_Gh on December 26, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    1. Statistics are like Skirts, they hide more than they reveal. In the nineties, Hayden was never a primary choice for opening. The selectors knew better. The Fast bowlers then (SA, WI, Pak) were really fast. 2. In this decade, among those who Hayden could face, there were no Genuine Fast Bowlers except those past their prime (Donald, Pollock, Akram, Younis) and except the angler Ntini who has now captured Hayden NINE times in his whole career including today when Hayden has got out on a score of a near-blob '8'. Great.

    (Cont.d)

  • Amol_Gh on December 26, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    (Cont.d) 3. Difference between the circumstance in 1970s\1980s & 2000s: Today cricket is more commercial & more runs means more money. So more batsman friendly pitches & shorter boundaries. Also better Training facilities & body protection guards\gears for batsmen. Provide these conditions to a Gavaskar, Greenidge, Haynes, Lawry, Simpson in their prime & see them wreck havoc on the opposition. Or unleash the unfriendly conditions they faced (rough wickets, terrifyingly fast bowlers in their prime) on Hayden & see him perish. Then only one can understand the meaning of the phrase 'without a helmet' used for Gavaskar. Nobody is greater than or even as great as Gavaskar, Greenidge and Haynes. And how many times have these three played against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to boost their averages? Hayden, the bully, milked those whipping boys. The second rung consists of Sachin and Lara because they faced the SA\Aussie Great bowlers during the 1990s. Hayden never faced his own bowlers.

  • Amol_Gh on December 26, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    (Cont.d) 4. Unlike the Indians, how frequent are his substancial scores on an AWAY basis? As Rare as the Tasmanian Wolf (Ind 2001, SA 2005-06). We are talking careers here and not just bright spots. 5. Talking of this decade's genuine fast bowlers, he failed in Ashes 2005. He failed against Zaheer, Ishant. He is failing against Steyn, Ntini, Morkel. Just like he failed against Donald, Akram, Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop in their prime in the 90s. Yes, one has to admit, in between these two periods, Hayden, the opportunist did score against mediocre bowlers (ALL those that Ryan mentioned). Ponting (opener or not), Sehwag, Langer and Slater are anyday better than him.

    Hayden IS a good opener like any other good openers out there. But definitely not the greatest or even among the Greatest. Just Overhyped.

  • jazzmaster on December 26, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Whether or not the article is fair, accurate or whatever, there is no denial that Hayden has an excellent record as an opener and more power to him for overcoming a rather shaky start to his career. However, to call him "great" would be to ignore the paradoxical fact that, despite being a self-professed devout Christian, family man and wonderful supporter of charities, he is universally disliked as a poor sportsman on the field. I believe that to be acknowledged as a "great" encompasses all aspects of your approach to the game, not just your average and your aggregate. Gilchrist and his ilk great? Yes. Hayden outstanding? Yes. But not a great of the game

  • Choudhry1977 on December 26, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    Well. no doubt that Hayden was among the best opening batsmen of the post - 1990 era. If one has to compile the best XI for post 1990 era then there are veryfew contenders for opening slot. Ponting, waugh brothers, Inzy, Sachin, Arvinda, Rahul, Lara, etc can claim seats in the middle order, but none of them were the there-for the opener's slot. Notwithstanding. Hayden was a great player of spin bowling, which he had proved during India's tour of 2001 playing against Harbhajan & Kumble.... to be honest.. who else could be the other opener to partner Hayden in case such a team is thought of?

  • Kaioshin on December 26, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    This article feels somewhat biased and with no hard facts brought to the table. As someone pointed out, the statsguru would have served this writer well...

  • SportingSam on December 26, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    Hayden's first test century was the worst century I have ever seen - I think he was dropped 6 times and scored most of his runs from snicks. He used to take block to Curtly Ambrose virtually alongside the square leg umpire. As grounds became smaller and smaller (ropes)and bats become better and snicks started going for six and wickets become flatter Hayden started to improve unless, of course, against the odd trundler who could swing the ball. He was rarely given LBW when plumb (nobody knows why). No, not within a bull's roar of Arthur Morris - uncovered wickets - full size grounds - bats that didn't do the work for the batsmen, etc., Hayden's constant sledging and general arrogance has turned many away from him; such arrogance is typified by his saying he will decide later what he will do about the future - isn't this the selectors domain, or do the inmates run the asylum?

  • beefysandip on December 26, 2008, 4:25 GMT

    Its really is a crap piece from Christian Ryan.A writing that seems likely to have been conjured up in an absolute festive mood when he let all the statistics and circumstances Hayden played in out of the window. If you call the attacks faced by Hayden as weak and below par ,the same attacks were faced by other contemporary batsmen(given that he needn't prove himself against his own great bowlers.Does he want to prove all the contemporaries are a touch below than Gavaskar and Gooch? He seems to have forgotten many matches in here where Haydos stood tall when all his team-mates around him were falling.India 2001 when his own old nemesis Harbhajan was at his best,World Cup 2007 and many more.He has faced bowlers in their primes in Donald,Pollock,Akhtar ,Harbhajan,Murali and have had success against them. All in all...this piece was a crap.

  • The_other_side on December 26, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    Hayden's numbers are great. But in my opinion he is a good bat, stopping below greatness. In his time perhaps Martin and Ponting are better. He has never made runs in difficult situations. It is unfair to compare him with the middle order and he is the best opening bat of his time with a long purple patch from 2001-06. He is also remembered for his world cup 2007. He is not a great character either. His best innings are Oval hundred and the one in Chennai 2001. He is definitely a rung below Gavaskar, Greenidge or Haynes, who are a decade ahead of him.

  • Subra on December 26, 2008, 2:52 GMT

    An Irish comedian once said - we Irish don't believe in hitting a man when he is down. (pause) It is much easier to kick the b!@#$%d. A number of cricket writers/critics seemed to have adopted that line. In the past few weeks have seen them calling for the replacement of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Hayden and even Brett Lee. Anyopne over 35 is fair game for them. But as Rahul, Tendulkar have shown "Form is Temporary while Class is Permanent." The difference3 between Hayden and the Indians is that they let their bat do their talking - while Hayden has been an expert sledger and, therefore will not have many friends and there may be many cricketers who are secretly hoping that he will be sacked, so that they can bat in peace. Whatever that may be, he has been a great entertainer - how many of the contemporary batsman have 'murdered' the same bowlers as Hayden has. You cannot take it away from hiom that the quality of the opposition bowlers is poor. It is not his fault.

  • whits106 on December 26, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    I don't believe it so much the quality of the bowling that has declined; Just the conditions in which matches are played. As he states, it's alot easier now to face up to a quick bowling short at 140kmh+ with a helmet, chest guard, arm guard, thigh pad, inner thigh pad ect.. than it was with pads & gloves. Also, the wickets now are all so flat and lifeless, rarely do you see anything variable. Australia was renowned for having pitches of varying conditions. Now they're all the same. It is unfair on both past and present to compare players of different era's. And to use stats from seperate era's is also ridiculous due to the above and many other unconsidered factors. Gavaskar was an exceptional cricketer in his own right. Hayden has been great in this era, and even though it was against Zimbabwe, scoring 380 runs is no easy feat. There have been better batsman during his time in my opinion - but given the conditions, he has thrived and entertained us all..

  • blow_up on December 26, 2008, 0:46 GMT

    Congratulations: another wonderfully woeful 'article'. Although you would have to agree, Chris, that your form is below Hayden's and your attempts at aping Roebuck even poorer. Numeracy isn't one of your strengths either; several of the previous posters have far more of a statistical understanding than you appear to have. I am no great fan of Hayden, however I am certainly less a fan of your consistently inept drivel.

  • anton1234 on December 26, 2008, 0:30 GMT

    5) Hayden has scored a bucketful of runs against Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard in Australi. Sure, he had an averegae 2005 Ashes, but one series should not overlook the fact that he has sciored a lot of runs against the same opposition. Also, you make it sound as if Simon is something special. You cannot a judge a bowler on a singe Ashes series. Hayden has scored more runs against far better bowlers in Pollock, Shoaib Akthar, Kumble, etc.

    5) The truth of the matter is, even ordinay bowlers are doing well against Hayden now. Look at Ntini, Hayden is struggling against him in this series but has taken him to the cleaners in the past on many ocassions. people go through bad patches, especially a guy who is 37 years of age (Hayden's age).

    6) The fact that even guys like Greame Swan have become dominant against Rahul Dravid in recent times should not mean Dravid is a bad player overnight.

    Poor poor article. Was expecting much better, Ryan. You have tries to belittle a great player.

  • anton1234 on December 26, 2008, 0:23 GMT

    This has got to be one of the worst piece of articles I have ever read on Cricinfo.

    Here are some points to make a complete rebuttal against the writer of this piece

    1)Hayden has scored tons of runs against every opposition, including a lot of runs in India in previous series against Kumble, Bhaji in 2001, for instance. Hayden's record against Bangladesh is poor, so he is no bully agaisnt the weak.

    2) The writer says Hayden's record against Zahher khan and Ishant in the recent series is poor. Correct, but he has scored a lot of runs against both in previous series'. The writer makes these two bowlers seem like they are giants of the game. Neither are. Hayden has scored runs against far better bowlers before.

    3) Hayden has scored plenty of runs against Dald, Pollock even when Pollock was in his early 31-32 years of age, not an old agae for a bowler.

    4) Hayden's record against Warne and McGrath is very good in state cricket.

  • world_cricketer on December 26, 2008, 0:10 GMT

    What about the centuries at home and away?? Ponting and Hayden compete for the most centuries scored at home!!! Dare not compare the centuries scored away by Tendulkar or Gavaskar with these miniatures players...

  • cooldewd on December 25, 2008, 23:43 GMT

    The comments by the Indian readers in this thread smack of jealousy and gullability. His first century was against a quality West Indies attack. He DESTROYED Harbhajan and co in 2001 when every other Aussie batsman struggled to get willow on ball, he carved up Akhtar and Waqar in 50 degree heat...he demoralised a SA pace attack that included Donald, Pollock and Ntini....infact, the point in the article above that bothers me most is the insinuation that he made all his runs against Zimbabwe.

    How many tests did Hayden play again Zimbabwe again? Without looking it up on stats guru, would it be 3...4?

    To suggest that Hayden has built a career out of savaging the likes of the Zimbabweans is a bit rich when you consider that NOBODY has played Zinbabwe and Bangladesh more than the Indians.

    I await your article dissecting the over inflated averages of the Indian top order using your Bangla/Zimb logic as the yardstick.

  • spectator_c on December 25, 2008, 23:42 GMT

    Hayden is a good batsmen. No questions asked. At the same time I cannot help thinking what would be his average against the likes of greats like Mcgrath and Wasim Akram and good swing fast bowlers like Shane Bond.He faced Akram,Shane Bond with an average or below average fielding sides where they dont convert half chances,chances into wickets. SA is a better fielding side but on the flip side they have average bowlers and Ntini being above average is highly inconsistent. And it's well known that australians are not good players of swing bowling. They are good on bouncier wickets,good for horizontal bat shots. A hundred is a hundred no matter where and against whom. A quote recently came across about Dravid and Hayden "people all over the world want one of these two batsmen to stay in the team except opposition's 11 where as for the other one its only his team who wants him to stay in". All this put together,I might put hayden in good-very good category than Greats Category.No offense

  • Schwarzenberg on December 25, 2008, 23:41 GMT

    Great article. couldnt agree with you more. Every time Hayden has come up against quality pace attacks he has been shown up. As pointed out, the reason his early career was rubbish is that he was found out by Donald, Ambrose et al. And a similar thing happened in 2005 with Flintoff and Harmison and Jones. the fact that he battered rubbish players in between is irrelevant. Its a good thing Lara got the world record back, because if Hayden had held it for battering Zimbabwe's 3rd string it would have been a joke. As it is, Hayden's average is an affront to all the openers who faced decent pace attacks in the past. If he had played in the 70s, 80s, or early 90s, his average would have been about 20

  • lodger67 on December 25, 2008, 23:10 GMT

    Christian, you also conveniently leave out the name Streak from the list of Zimbabweans against whom Hayden clobbered his then record 380. This is a guy who took 216 test wkts at an avge of 28. Not a bad player to have on the list of players whom a batsman has belted into submission.

  • VoltaireC on December 25, 2008, 23:04 GMT

    Christian has hit the proverbial nail! Any keen observer of the game would know that Hayden was just a buccaneering opener against mediocre attacks! This would equally apply to Ponting-the so called 'best since Bradman'! While definitely it's not Haydos fault that the best flame throwers were outta business when he started swaggering.....it's also pertinent to note that he was never selected mid-late 90's...may be Aussie selectors knew better. Yes, he's got an imposing record and was a major part of Aussies' success until 2005. For a guy who's played for as long as he did there would be definitely some great knocks against testing bowling but one cannot generalize that Haydos could've been consistent against quality fast men. If he had faced the great Macko(hypothetically)in one full series-in his 80's prime-Haydos would have registered the same scores as one Rutherford, the hapless Kiwi. Some reader compared Gavaskar having lesser avg against Windies men...just ask Lloyd/Vic abt Sunny

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on December 25, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    Agree.Hayden is over rated and he is a good batsman but not a great one.He has strugled against quality attack on a consistent basis. Thanks srekanth nair

  • Bumpster on December 25, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    In my opinion, you cannot compare Mr Hayden to the brilliance of openers like Bill Ponsford, Bill Lawry, Geoff Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Gordon Greenidge, Gooch, Haynes. Those guys were pure class and were gentlemen also, which in my mind speaks volumes! another thing i want to point out is that i have noticed that over the last 2-3 years, there isn't as many great fast bowlers around unfortunately and those that are around are either still "green" or not at their peak. No surprise then that Hayden has benefited from this.

  • eddie1 on December 25, 2008, 21:28 GMT

    Well Hayden has been bowled a yorker here. But his fans have dugg this one out and smashed it for four. Hayden has been my favourite cricketer for the past 10 years. I have been driving all my friends crazy everytime he plays. I am 32, I grew up playing my cricket at Finchley Cricket Club. I know what a great cricketer looks like. Hayden has been fantastic to watch. As an opener, a point the author misses, it is especially difficult to up the tempo and smash a quick swinging delivery all over the park. He has possibly the best eye for a ball in the modern game. Only Lara could see the ball as quick, and he definitely is arguably the best player of all time. His stats are of the best, no argument. I will also draw you back to his ODI abilities. Never FORGET, when he smashed Flintoff off the front front over mid wicket for 6. Flintoff said, Hayden is "the best opener" he could think off. I will be GUTTED when he retires. I hope he plays in the ashes, Eddie from Londo

  • lodger67 on December 25, 2008, 21:01 GMT

    "Only your mind" indeed. Seems we have some vivid imaginations whne it comes to records of other players. Ryan can apparently think of Hanif and even Trumper when trying to recall images of great opening batsmenship. And MihirJhaveri recalls Gavaskar scoring against a host of bowlers. Let's review the facts again: I showed that against any attack involving 4 of the great WI bowlers, his avge dropped to 33.57; against Lillee, he averaged 19.66, against Thomson, yes he averaged 50, this was the WSC decimated Aussie side in 1977/78, and Thommo was post-shoulder injury, but we'll grant runs vs Thomson; against Hadlee, it was 35.77; against Willis, he averaged 51.70, but does anybody else rate Willis in the same class as the other quicks mentioned in this list?; and then there's Qadir, who Gavaskar faced "without a helmet" .. we'll overlook that slip, perhaps? Point is, Gavaskar was great, but don't imagine that he was brilliant against the greatest quicks. He wasn't.

  • maddy_cric on December 25, 2008, 20:43 GMT

    The very fact that Hayden played in the greatest team of his era almost throughout his career especially after his comeback i.e. post 1999-2000 seems to make most critics underplay his remarkable consistency since then. Scoring over 1000 runs every year for more than 5 yrs consecutively does put him in a league of his own atleast in this era. He has played some great bowlers though not for prolonged periods like say a Sachin or Lara. And surely for his remarkable consistency and dominant performances over the best part of 8 years and for being a part of a great opening pair, he must figure among the great openers. His success should not, I believe be discounted merely for the reason that attacks around were not competent and the fact that his initial failures came against some good attacks which can and have happened to most batsmen.

  • perl57 on December 25, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    I guess Hayden is a great opening batsman but not the best in the business or even the top 5. People like Steve Waugh and Haydos are great for their grit and not for their skill. And in deciding that a batsman is great, we need to look at class which Haydos lacks from say a Sachin, Lara, Haniff or may be even Sehwag. There is simply no doubt that he is very good but it stops there. Perhaps after he lost his record to Lara, Hayden concentrated way too hard on breaking it and to break such a record is never on plan. After that age caught up with him and hence since India visit to Oz in 2004 he never could perform consistently. He should consider himself lucky for not being dumped out despite his poor performances.

  • doosrafromCCdotCOME on December 25, 2008, 17:58 GMT

    The knives are out already. Will Haydo respond with the bat, in a big way? All left to be seen. Is Phil Jacques ready for another dance?

  • NomDePlume on December 25, 2008, 17:27 GMT

    Hayden played 7 games against Zimb/Ban/ICC XI. If you take them out, his average drops from 51 to 48 against Ind/WI/Eng/SA/NZ/SL/Pak. Imagine, just 7 games. Ok, now if you look at AWAY games against the remaining, his average drops to 41. Now, compare this to Virender Sehwag, who, in 66 tests averages more away against Aus/WI/Eng/SA/NZ/SL/Pak then at home (51 at home to 52.9 away). And Sehwag had to face Australia. So, Hayden is a good opening batsman, who appears better because he rode on the coattails of Australia's long and successful run. Now that Australia are struggling, so is he.

  • NomDePlume on December 25, 2008, 17:27 GMT

    Hayden played 7 games against Zimb/Ban/ICC XI. If you take them out, his average drops from 51 to 48 against Ind/WI/Eng/SA/NZ/SL/Pak. Imagine, just 7 games. Ok, now if you look at AWAY games against the remaining, his average drops to 41. Now, compare this to Virender Sehwag, who, in 66 tests averages more away against Aus/WI/Eng/SA/NZ/SL/Pak then at home (51 at home to 52.9 away). And Sehwag had to face Australia. So, Hayden is a good opening batsman, who appears better because he rode on the coattails of Australia's long and successful run. Now that Australia are struggling, so is he.

  • KiwiPom on December 25, 2008, 17:12 GMT

    I understand your article and it does of course have some merit. However what is unfair is to single out Matthew Hayden.

    Since the advent of covered and better pitches; since the admission to the test playing ranks of Sri Lanka (yes I know it only applies to earliest days), Zimbabwe (ditto but later times), and Bangladesh there has been a general inflating of the averages of test batsmen from the established nations. We underrate the older players at our peril.

    Wouldn't it be nice if your resident statsgurus could "normalise" all averages to a given average set of conditions - say from the 50s or 60s? Firstly you would need to develop a set of fudge factors but then the rest would be easy with your available technology.

  • Naresh2 on December 25, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    I agree 100% with this article. Hayden has indeed bullied ordinary attacks all his life. He suffered against England in 2005 - and in fact Hussey is another guy who was terribly lucky so far. If he had made his debut one series earlier (against England in 2005) he would have been a long forgotten footnote - instead his current average is 61 (which should come down to at most 55 by the end of Ashes).

  • Aditya_mookerjee on December 25, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    Hayden is not a thorn in the flesh of bowlers. The pain is more dull, and more unbearable. I was extremely uncomfortable, when I used to watch Hayden bat against India. He is simply the most significant batsman in the Australian batting line up. It may be an enjoyable challenge to bowl to him, perhaps, but instead of getting out to Harbhajan Singh, Harbhajan Singh used to be swept for four by hayden. Hayden never hit many boundaries against Harbhajan if he did not use the sweep, which was horrible for the Indian spectator. And, I remember many boundaries hit by Hayden, off Harbhajan. Perhaps, the times are changing.

  • SangakaraFan on December 25, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    I DON"T considered him as the greatest opener. He has always struggled agaist good fast bowling.He was never really comfortable againts Donald and Co. or in recent series against India. Zaheer,Ishant & harbajan tore him apart. He always OVERRATTED BY THE AUSSIE MEDIA. Haydon or Ponting CAN'T come close to LARA OR TENDULKAR. TO ME THE GREATEST OPENING PAIR WERE GREENIDGE AND HAYNES.

  • khlfn14 on December 25, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Oh ya he is a great batsmen for sure but he is going through a tough time.I think he should start playing better otherwise media will not leave him .his floppy form is because of injury.Since he has return from the injury break he is out of knock.But before injury he was just not stopping and that too in all forms of the cricket.So i think it is because of 2 months break which kept him out of touch.Now he should play till ashes as he promise that he will play till ashes so it will disappoint me as well as others if he broke his promise so i think he should obey his promise and after that do watever he wants to do!GOOD LUCK! HAYDOS

  • Clyde on December 25, 2008, 15:13 GMT

    Christian Ryan has a thesis he does not prove. Quite a few Cricinfo writers do the same, prevailing on the reader to go on for hundreds of words, to no avail. I also see in this item the Cricinfo tendency to put people up and put people down. It is sufficient to say Lawry is different from Hayden, and it is much more interersting. I am interested in writers who keep to the principle that the aim is to play, not statistically, not even well or badly. As well, retirement is a non-issue, like death, not pertinent to what happens in the game. What counts is how Hayden plays. What I would like to know is such things as why in the first Test Siddle bowled what school kids used to call 'straight up and down' in a Test match and why he wasn't repeatedly driven straight to the boundary at mid-off or mid-on.

  • CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on December 25, 2008, 14:49 GMT

    Ask Zaheer,Ishant or Ntini & Steyn..Whether they still feel Hayden is scary..Trust me they still do.. True early half of this decade has seen some ageing fast bowlers along with some mediocre medium pacers but u cant ignore the way he played.. Lara,Sachin,ponting could not do that..He set the benchmerk for the modern day openers somebody like Sehwag and is and was as good as anyone against the Murali,kumble,Vettori,Harbhajan..Well I do accept the fact that he is ageing lion but then lion he is.. He ll come back and prove what a champion he is..One of the true greats of modern era..watch out for him tomorrow against the Proteas..

  • KishoreSharma on December 25, 2008, 14:43 GMT

    An interesting article. But we also need to take into account that Hayden has grown older - with the possible slowing of reflexes - and this may also explain his recent failures against Ishant etc. A point about Gavaskar and the West Indies - he rarely scored against them at the peak of their fast bowling powers. In 1971, when he made his debut and scored 4 hundreds, they had a mediocre pace attack led by Vanburn Holder. In 1978/79, when he also scored four hundreds, they had a team deprived of their Packer players and the famed pace quartet. When he actually faced something approaching their peak attack in 1983, he struggled. Thus, what is said about Hayden should also be applied to Gavaskar.

  • prashant1 on December 25, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    To all those spewing stats without CONTEXT, I'm afraid that Mr.Ryan is quite right. Stats are meaningless without context. The author is clearly inquiring about Hayden's abilities against real fast bowlers at their peaks on juicy pitches.(Seeing off the new ball against the opening fast bowlers was the primary goal of latter day openers,NOT abilities against spin). Hayden was lost against Donald and co.in the early to mid nineties. So if he then scored some runs years later against an aging Donald ,it does not indicate any improved ability.Similarly with Lara...Lara was absolutely hopeless against Donald and co. in the mid nineties.However in the 2003 WC he hammered an aging, near retirement Donald. The fact is that certain players are definitely suspect against express pace bowling on juicy pitches. Hayden is certainly very good as a general "batsman",but to say he ranks ON PAR with many of the other great OPENERS on the basis of "contextless" stats is stretching it a bit.

  • TheCricketMan on December 25, 2008, 13:56 GMT

    Correcting lodger67: Gavaskar averaged 53.37 after his debut series against West Indies, facing Marshall, Holding, Roberts, and the rest. He was a world class batsman, and will remain so. It is not necessary to put down one great batsman to convince people about Hayden's class. Both Gavaskar and Hayden were fearless against pace attacks. Of course, Gavaskar never used a helmet (except a specially designed headgear). He was truly fearless. Hayden's muscular physique helps to intimidate bowlers. Gavaskar did not have that advantage. However, both belong to different eras. So, a comprehensive comparison satisfying everyone is never possible!

  • Frasera on December 25, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    There is an old saying which in essence says it does not matter who you play against the runs still have to be made. There are a number of other batters who have played against the same bowlers who Hayden has battered and their records are mediocre so lets give Hayden his due and not discount his efforts. I have a little problem when the writer includes Lawson as a average, does he remember the Antigua test when he ran the entire Aussie team? I'm sure had the ICC allowed Lawson's action as they do for Shoaib and Brett Lee (since in my opinion he throws the odd ball knowingly)he would have been a whole class tormentor to batmen. I too wonder had Ambrose had a chance to bowl to the West Indies team what would have been his career figures. Any way give Hayden his due without trying to put it into perspective and discounting his returns. World cricket will certainly miss him when he retires.

  • klempie on December 25, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    You know you've cracked the Aussies once their media turn on them like this. LOL. Mr Ryan has tried to convey an opinion that Hayden is a good batsman but not an all-time great, yet this register and tone suggest that he thinks far less of him. I personally rate him as a player (although his attitude stinks) but reading this gives me massive confidence that we'll pull off a series win. No doubt it will be giving our boys a confidence boost as well. Now if only we can whitewash 'em and shut Chappello up. His article "No usurpers here" was as one-eyed as an Aussie gets. You'd have thought SA had lost the first test!

  • doesitmatter on December 25, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    Good article by C.Ryan.He rises a very important point that Hayden has scored most of the runs after 2001 when world cricket has had the least number of great bowlers and mainly good batting pitches.This artcle holds true for all the post 2001 greats just change the name from Hayden to for eg Ponting,Dravid,Kallis or for that matter Brian Lara i know some might crucify me for naming Lara but he did not have a single century against W's and best SA attack of the 90's and also against the best post 2000 attack of 2005 Ashes England during the WI vs Eng series till they made a dead pitch in Antigua where he made 400.

  • gaurav.y.singh on December 25, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    That was a good article! Hayden may have piled up runs and more runs against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and other teams when their bowlers were not at their peak but his record against good attacks is found to be wanting. And his attitude- for example pushing a young kid in England while walking out to bat or calling Harbhajan names on radio- it is disgusting.

  • Worldcuppa on December 25, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    Outstanding article which puts things into perspective. Test Batting has never been easier than in the last 7 years. Not only has each test Attack been reduced to mediocrity with the retirements of Walsh, Ambrose, Akram, Waqar Younis, Donald, and the prolonged absences of Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Bond, but wickets are flatter and boundaries are shorter than ever before. The stark contrast in the statistics of Hayden, Langer and Ponting pre-2001 and post-2001 confirm this. Hayden has been very very good but surely cannot be considered in the same class as Gavaskar, Haynes, Greendidge, Slater. Well done to the writer for telling it like it is.

  • Rajesh. on December 25, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    Mathew Hayden isn't the batsman he once was, make no mistake about it.......... But also, make no mistake about it, he has been one of the finest openers in the history of the game........ But someone like Sunil Gavaskar was in a different league altogether. Batting without a helmet and facing some of the most ferocious fast bowlers in history and on helpful pitches and getting 13 hundreds against the West Indies alone. Thats phenomenal to say the least !! Sunny Gavaskar is arguably the greatest opening batsman of all time !

  • number-09 on December 25, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Aussieicon91

    Gordon Greenidge opened every innings he played and always took the first ball. But to say hayden is not great is not fair, but putting it in the context of the quality of present day bowlers, his early problems with his fast bowling tormentors Amroise etc., and horrors against real quicks means that he is a few points below the greats.

  • yakka on December 25, 2008, 12:55 GMT

    This is a poorly written article because it comes across as a nasty personal attack. What on earth is all this "Haydox" nonsense? Get clear on your motivations before attempting to write anything else.

  • VipulPatki on December 25, 2008, 12:50 GMT

    The obituaries for the great batsmen have already started to flow! I may not be a great fan of Hayden for his on-field behaviour but I surely believe that he has been one of the greatest openers ever. The sort of opener we Indians have wished for the entire nineties. Can't agree much with the writer in this case. I do want proteas to win the boxing day test match but I surely want Hayden to score a century.

  • lodger67 on December 25, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    A few basic facts: against any side including Donald, Hayden averaged 47.30 with 3 hundreds; against attacks with Ntini, avge 49.47 with 4 hundreds; against Zaheer, avge 57.33 with 3 hundreds; and in his early career, he countered an attack with Walsh and Bishop with his first major hundred (125). Using cricinfo statsguru, it is easy to show that against any bowler where Hayden has played more than one series, his average is still right up there. Look at the other examples provided: Gavaskar, vs any side that contained any ONE of the great West Indian fast men of the 1970s and 1980s, averaged just 40.79; against attacks containing 4 of the great fast men, his avge was just 33.57 from 19 attempts; Gooch's most prolific series were against a weakened Indian side (1981, 1990), the weak Aussies of 1985, the "mighty" NZ etc.; Hanif's 16 hour vigil on a pitch the first team scored 579; Trumper, was a great, yes, admitted. All great bats have bad or good runs, but look at them all in context.

  • insightfulcricketer on December 25, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    I think this article has been unfair to Hayden's abilities. He as a person may not be more than much of a tweed but as a player he has consistent performances over a period of last seven years. In Perth test this year it was only when Hayden was injured that Indians could really spank the Aussies at Perth .Something akin to beating Indians on a raging turner. I always thought Ponting more than Hayden is an over-rated player and a real manifestation of a wide bat and flat tracks. And he really thrived from a great start created by Hayden and Langer.

  • CamGinMalaysia on December 25, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    Sorry, this writer has the curse of tall poppy syndrome. Cut them off when they are great and especially when they are down. You can't say that Hayden would not have scored against this or that bowler when they have retired or bowling more with brain than brawn. The true measure of a man is to compare him to his contemporaries. Can we do that please? You'll see that for a time Hayden was healthily outscoring everyone else in the Australian team and that when he scored a century at the top of the order Australia invariably won the game. Much of Australia's winning streak in the 90's was due to Hayden. Here is a challenge, can the writer of this tripe stand up in front of the bowlers Hayden has apparently plundered with little skill and tell them they are mediocre and responsible for this giant of the modern game accumulating runs against the new ball attack? Just rubbish writing and unbelievable to see this on Cricinfo. (Come on Cricinfo, I challenge you to print this comment!)

  • MihirJhaveri on December 25, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    I fully agree that it is ridiculous to put Hayden and Ponting in the same league as Gavaskar. The quality of bowlers that Gavaskar had to face was phenomenal, and that too without a helmet or any restriction on short pitched stuff!!! Even Tendulkar and Lara cannot be compared to Gavaskar or Viv Richards. Gavaskar has scored against Lille, Thompson, Hadlee, Willis, Botham, Garner, Marshall, Imran, Qadir, Roberts and Holding - without a helmet! Tendulkar and Lara against Warne, McGrath, Lee, Murali, Vaas, Shoaib, Akram, Waqar, Flintoff, Alan Donald, Pollock, Bond. Ponting and Hayden did not even have to face the likes of Warne and McGrath!!! Just seeing the list of bowlers each of the batsmen have played, and scored against under very different circumstances and rules, makes it abundantly clear who the best were, and unless we put the fringe countries out of Test Cricket, the records will continue to tumble, but will be of only paper value, no more.

  • andrew-schulz on December 25, 2008, 11:32 GMT

    Inaccurate from the very start. Hayden was the best opener in the world for many years precisely because he was a great leaver of the ball and eliminated much of the risk of the most common dismissal- the outside edge. 'Not much leaving ever since' is a wild inaccuracy. There is good reason for readers to simply scoff at your assessment, Ryan. In your last article, you told us definitively that Matthew Elliott and Mark Taylor would make a combined Aussie side ahead of Hayden-utterly ridiculous. Also ridiculous is your implication that he batted too slowly at the Oval in 2005. Chasing 373, he and Langer played it exactly the right way, and were it not for play lost through bad light, their double century partnership gave Australia the best chance of retaining the Ashes. Personally I believe the guy is given nowhere near the credit he deserves-definitely the best opener of his generation.

  • Alvino on December 25, 2008, 10:55 GMT

    After reading the articles and comments, I pity the cricketers nowadays. When they're at their prime, they will be written as gods or even superhuman. When they're at their lowest, no sympathy is given. I reckon that Hayden is not the greatest opener but he should be included in one of the greats. For those people that dare to comment on him not being the great batsman or even winning cricketer, I would suggest that you all look at yourself first and ask yourself whether you can score those hundreds like Haydos in those conditions.

  • Badger36 on December 25, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    Hayden is a magnificent player and it would be a mistake to jetison him now before the the return series against South Africa and the Ashes,after which he will almost certainly go of his own accord anyway. I hope he scores a century in the test later today so we can see more of him in England next summer, instead of Jacques and Katitch whose techniques are very unappealing to watch. With a player like Hayden(and Sehwag)they are likely to win you a game even if they have a few failures along the way which is to be expected due to their attacking style.

  • TheCricketMan on December 25, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    Hayden scored his very first century against an attack comprising of Walsh and Bishop. In his next series against India, when Harbhajan ran amok (32 wickets in 3 matches), he averaged 109.80 - the next highest average for an Australian on that tour was 48.60. He scored 549 runs in that series, the next highest from an Australian was 243. He scored four centuries in the two series against South Africa - some of those matches had Donald, Ntini and Kallis bowling. In late 2002, against Pakistan, in sweltering heat, facing Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis, he scored 119, while the next highest score was 37. He finished 2002 with three centuries against England, facing Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones. In 2005-06, he scored two centuries against Pollock, Ntini, Nel and Kallis. In 2007, when you say he "edged and groped" against England, remember 0, 7, 6 & 5 were the scores of the no.s 3,4,5&6 batsmen in that match!

    Do an honest analysis of data. This article does not do that.

  • aus_are_down_and_out on December 25, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    This article sums Hayden up perfectly. He has too many cheap runs, he hardly ever comes through in tough situations.

    Hayden averages 250+ against Zimbabwe, and 21 out of his 30 centuries (70%) have been scored in Australia.

    Hayden in no way at all deserves to be classed as 'great' or be mentioned in the same category of the other openers mentioned.

    qudsi - You have no idea what you are talking about, which is clearly demonstrated when you call the Eiffel Tower "A file tower".

  • Sudzz on December 25, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    That records need to have a context is something that this article proves beyond doubt. We have to judge greatness with reference to the frame in which a player played and how great were his competitors.

    Having had said the above, I don't think its Hayden's fault that bowlers were not that great when he was at his peak, to say that he is not a great batsman is churlish and basically not correct.

    The last decade or infact decade and half have been marked by abject lack of quality bowling attacks across the world. Therefore right from the Tendulkar's, Ponting's down to Hayden's etc have had the benefit of that. But this does not mean that they are not great or should not be evaluated in the same manner.

  • Sprewell on December 25, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    So are you saying Tendulkar and Ponting aren't great batsman either because there aren't any great West Indian bowlers around? Another stupid article, attempting to demean the great Haydos and appeal to populous Indian readers. Haydos is gooder than good, one of the great opening batsman ever. Its easy to have a go whilst he has had a few bad decisions go against him and remember he is 37, nearing the end. The real question is, is Christian Ryan a good journalist? Answer - Definately not!

  • Aussieicon91 on December 25, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    This article made me laugh. You don't even acknowledge the fact that batsman from the early 1950's and before that only played against 3 or 4 different nations and never played in the subcontient. You do realise that out of all of those Openers that you mentioned that Hayden's the only one to have opened in every single innings that his played?

    Hayden was the best batsman in the world inbetween 2001-2004 in the same era that featured Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis. You also seem to ignore Hayden's record against Muttiah Muralidaran? You know... the leading wicket-taker of all-time? Hayden also dominated in close to 50 degree heat against Pakistan in 2002, against the bowling attack of Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq and Shoaib Akhtar when he was at his peak.

    It's not a matter of Hayden being one of the greatest Opening Batsman of alltime because he is the greatest Opening Batsman of all-time.

  • Nipun on December 25, 2008, 8:39 GMT

    So when Hayden scored loads of hundreds against a SA attack consisting of Donald,Pollock,& Ntini,the conditions were good for batting,& when he fails once against an attack consisting of Steyn,Ntini,& Morkel,in the same conditions,the conditions are aiding swing bowling ??? When he scored hundreds against Murali in his prime,when Australia had conceded leads of 150+ in 1st innings on 1st two tests when Australia toured Sri Lanka,the conditions were good for batting,& when he fails against an attack consisting of Southee,O Brien,the conditions are aiding swing bowling ???What about the hundred he scored against Pakistan in Sharjah against Waqar,Shoaib,& Saqlain at temperatures about 40 degrees,the conditions were good for batting ??? To be fair,he has failed on 2 big occasions,in a career of over 10 years,The Ashes 2005,& against India this year.Does that mean he is a popgun batsman?Please keep proper track records before writing articles !!!

  • oasisharvard on December 25, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    How can you leave out Virender Sehwag from the list. He is undoubtedly, one of the best opening batmen in the cricketing history with his top notch average and match winning hitting abilities.

  • popcorn on December 25, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Hayden is ON PAR with the best opening batsmen of all time - Gavaskar, Haynes, Greenidge,Barry Richards,Bill Lawry,Bob Simpson,Justin Langer,Mark Taylor.

  • ErollFlynn on December 25, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    Haydos has been part of a great Australian team and like his team has been a consistent performer for several seasons. Unlike the form swings of Sehwags of the world, he has delivered at all times. Like Sehwag, he too has a triple century to his credit, although he overall strike rate is less. Surely, age is catching up with him. Power hitting has been his forte and I don't think he would be able to adjust his technique like Tendulkar has done. Statistically, his runs may have come against weaker oppositions for he never faced a Australian team's bowling. However, he wasn't responsible for the strength of his opposition. Today, facing a strong Indian attack and resurgent Proteas his weaknesses are being exposed. Given his career averages, he would definitely be talked in the same class as the top 10 openers world cricket has ever seen!

  • Kiwi-Muncher on December 25, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    Cricketers of various eras are incomparable, Matthew Hayden has been a an opener of the mould that the selectors obviously liked at the time, he has been around for a decade and scored many a run and pretty quickly, dont forget his slips catching, I cant remember him grounding too many either. One day and 20/20 opener to add in the mix. I think he has been a great servant to Aussie Cricket, I remember going to a one day game at the Gabba, just as Hayden was making his way in the Qld squad, Hayden facing Glenn McGrath who at the time was firmly in the Aussie side and doing plenty on a dullish day, Haydos spanked him time and again, my 12 year old son was beside himself (Great fan of Matthew) McGrath lost the plot and as Matthew smashed another straight drive down the ground he took off for a single and McGrath tried to shoulder charge him on his run through, what an ambitious disaster that was, Bean Pole vs Magilla Gorilla, my son and I still laugh about that over a beer.

  • prashant1 on December 25, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    FINALLY! Someone who realises that there is always a "context" behind any stat. It's not just Hayden actually.Lara too was actually quite lost against Donald,Akram and the real pacers(Walsh and Ambrose being in his own team ,of course).However,Lara was way better against seam and swing bowling (The Mcgraths and English bowlers)than Hayden is. The thing is ,however,when discussing how good a batsman is,it is mandatory to take into account capabilities against top class bowling(off all types:real pace,swing,spin etc) and only then can any judgement be made. Hayden simply fails to make the cut.

  • Vishal_madison on December 25, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    I think it is always difficult to compare batsmen of current era to previous ones. Who knows how he would have performed against 80's attacks. And from current era he never had to face best bowling attack as he played for them :). All said, I think the way he dominated India in India, and way he has scored runs all across the globe, he is the finest opener of this era.

  • logicguy on December 25, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    You are saying that about Hayden. What abt comparing some1 like Gambhir n Jaffer. Jaffer the more technically correct failed in Australia and that allowed Gambhir to comeback. I dont think he isn't that good. But there aren't too many bowlers around to test him out.

  • Shan_Karthic on December 25, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    To qudsi: Even leaving great past openers since you are looking at raw numbers which are much better this decade for batsmen, Hayden is not the best. Sehwag as an opener (Avg:52.38, SR:79.09) averages almost a run more at a strike rate of almost 19 runs more compared to Hayden (Avg:51.34, SR:60.18).

    If you include only matches against other top 6 this decade, Sehwag averages almost 3 more runs with the same SR difference. And Sehwag faced Australian attack while Hayden did not.

    So neither in average nor in style is Hayden the greatest amongst even the current openers.

    Hayden is a great batsman who has demoralised bowling attacks over the last decade. He has been integral to Australia's dominance. But he certainly is not better than some of the greatest openers.

  • KingOwl on December 25, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Good article. But, I think this is stating the obvious, a bit. I don't think anybody seriously thought of Hayden as a great opening batsmen. A bully, certainly yes. Greatness does not come from avereges. It comes from respect from supporters and oponents alike. I would be very very surprised if Hayden had the respect of world class opponents.

  • kavalier on December 25, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Well it is not his fault that he did not face quality bowlers during his peak. As an Indian i can honestly say that his centuries in India against good spin attacks are testament to his quality. Zaheer, Ishant troubling him are at the end of his career when he is on the downward curve, so they do not counr. At his best he was majestic and great to watch. Not in the same class as Gavaskar but more like Sehwag a dashing opener. also it seems that the retirement of Langer has hampered him, sometimes soul mates loss does that

  • Supratik on December 25, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    To put it in one sentence, he is one of the greatest of all time against less than great attacks.His career summary will tell you that. Infact his style of play, one foot plonked down the wicket and a hoick to follow, would have been rendered obsolete in the pre-helmet era days and against the kind of attacks that we saw in the 60-90s in general and the 70s-80s in particular. And while comparing across eras is fraught with danger and amnesia, one could safely say that he pales in comparison with a Hobbs, a Gavaskar or even a Greenidge & the much hyped strike-rates of the modern era be damned!

  • ramks on December 25, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    No matter what you say, only great players can come to India and battered the hell out of kumble and harbhajan.

  • QUDSI on December 25, 2008, 5:26 GMT

    Hayden is great and bowlers like Shane warne(domestic seasons), wasim akram and walsh are afraid to bowl him when he is in his prime form. i will definitely rate him as one of the best opening batsmen in the world cricket and without a doubt, way more glamorous then the players like Gavaskar, hanief etc. as far as the average and the way of style goes, the other opening batsmen in the world, whether past or present does not even come close to him. its like a pizza store in front of Afile tower. despite the failures (he has not scored more then 30) in his last 14 innings, he still manages to score the highest average ever as an opening batsemen and it speaks for itself.

  • Bagapath on December 25, 2008, 4:24 GMT

    Well written. But don't forget his hundred in Sharjah against a more than decent Pakistani attack in tough conditions when he out scored pakistan's total - from both innings. That, and his hundreds in India against quality spin attack (minus kumble), would rank among his best ones. But of course, he aint no greenige or gooch leave alone a gavaskar or hutton. all said, he was very good and we should thank him for the entertainment.

  • r1m2 on December 25, 2008, 4:21 GMT

    I concur. The quality of bowling in general had gone down so drastically that batsmen like Hayden, Jacques are allowed to make merry. But one thing to keep in mind is that there are no truly great batsmen now or ever before who'll fit our heavy scrutiny. I.e. a great batsman should be able to survive the best fast bowlers on their best days and live to tell the tale. Also they must do the same against spinners. What will make him even greater is if he's able to score plenty of runs to turn the match, and win them whenever possible. Perfect batsmen should be able to handle the vagaries of any pitches all over the world. Oh yeah, he should do these while averaging 50+. But reality is this is pipe dream. Take Dravid the wall, he's played two great half centuries in West Indies on a terrible pitch yet he was generally clueless against McGrath. You can find nearly all "great" batsmen to be this way. Gambhir hit back to back tons against Australia. Is he "great"? Who were the bowlers? Right!

  • indiaideal on December 25, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Hayden is one of the best batsmen in the current australian team. However, its hard to say he is one of the greatest among the present crop of batsman in the world, as he did not face the great bowlers (mcgrath, warne), faced challenging situations quiet a few times and choked. He is neither a match winner nor smart cricketer. So, he is a pretty average worldclass batsman.

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  • indiaideal on December 25, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Hayden is one of the best batsmen in the current australian team. However, its hard to say he is one of the greatest among the present crop of batsman in the world, as he did not face the great bowlers (mcgrath, warne), faced challenging situations quiet a few times and choked. He is neither a match winner nor smart cricketer. So, he is a pretty average worldclass batsman.

  • r1m2 on December 25, 2008, 4:21 GMT

    I concur. The quality of bowling in general had gone down so drastically that batsmen like Hayden, Jacques are allowed to make merry. But one thing to keep in mind is that there are no truly great batsmen now or ever before who'll fit our heavy scrutiny. I.e. a great batsman should be able to survive the best fast bowlers on their best days and live to tell the tale. Also they must do the same against spinners. What will make him even greater is if he's able to score plenty of runs to turn the match, and win them whenever possible. Perfect batsmen should be able to handle the vagaries of any pitches all over the world. Oh yeah, he should do these while averaging 50+. But reality is this is pipe dream. Take Dravid the wall, he's played two great half centuries in West Indies on a terrible pitch yet he was generally clueless against McGrath. You can find nearly all "great" batsmen to be this way. Gambhir hit back to back tons against Australia. Is he "great"? Who were the bowlers? Right!

  • Bagapath on December 25, 2008, 4:24 GMT

    Well written. But don't forget his hundred in Sharjah against a more than decent Pakistani attack in tough conditions when he out scored pakistan's total - from both innings. That, and his hundreds in India against quality spin attack (minus kumble), would rank among his best ones. But of course, he aint no greenige or gooch leave alone a gavaskar or hutton. all said, he was very good and we should thank him for the entertainment.

  • QUDSI on December 25, 2008, 5:26 GMT

    Hayden is great and bowlers like Shane warne(domestic seasons), wasim akram and walsh are afraid to bowl him when he is in his prime form. i will definitely rate him as one of the best opening batsmen in the world cricket and without a doubt, way more glamorous then the players like Gavaskar, hanief etc. as far as the average and the way of style goes, the other opening batsmen in the world, whether past or present does not even come close to him. its like a pizza store in front of Afile tower. despite the failures (he has not scored more then 30) in his last 14 innings, he still manages to score the highest average ever as an opening batsemen and it speaks for itself.

  • ramks on December 25, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    No matter what you say, only great players can come to India and battered the hell out of kumble and harbhajan.

  • Supratik on December 25, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    To put it in one sentence, he is one of the greatest of all time against less than great attacks.His career summary will tell you that. Infact his style of play, one foot plonked down the wicket and a hoick to follow, would have been rendered obsolete in the pre-helmet era days and against the kind of attacks that we saw in the 60-90s in general and the 70s-80s in particular. And while comparing across eras is fraught with danger and amnesia, one could safely say that he pales in comparison with a Hobbs, a Gavaskar or even a Greenidge & the much hyped strike-rates of the modern era be damned!

  • kavalier on December 25, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Well it is not his fault that he did not face quality bowlers during his peak. As an Indian i can honestly say that his centuries in India against good spin attacks are testament to his quality. Zaheer, Ishant troubling him are at the end of his career when he is on the downward curve, so they do not counr. At his best he was majestic and great to watch. Not in the same class as Gavaskar but more like Sehwag a dashing opener. also it seems that the retirement of Langer has hampered him, sometimes soul mates loss does that

  • KingOwl on December 25, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Good article. But, I think this is stating the obvious, a bit. I don't think anybody seriously thought of Hayden as a great opening batsmen. A bully, certainly yes. Greatness does not come from avereges. It comes from respect from supporters and oponents alike. I would be very very surprised if Hayden had the respect of world class opponents.

  • Shan_Karthic on December 25, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    To qudsi: Even leaving great past openers since you are looking at raw numbers which are much better this decade for batsmen, Hayden is not the best. Sehwag as an opener (Avg:52.38, SR:79.09) averages almost a run more at a strike rate of almost 19 runs more compared to Hayden (Avg:51.34, SR:60.18).

    If you include only matches against other top 6 this decade, Sehwag averages almost 3 more runs with the same SR difference. And Sehwag faced Australian attack while Hayden did not.

    So neither in average nor in style is Hayden the greatest amongst even the current openers.

    Hayden is a great batsman who has demoralised bowling attacks over the last decade. He has been integral to Australia's dominance. But he certainly is not better than some of the greatest openers.

  • logicguy on December 25, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    You are saying that about Hayden. What abt comparing some1 like Gambhir n Jaffer. Jaffer the more technically correct failed in Australia and that allowed Gambhir to comeback. I dont think he isn't that good. But there aren't too many bowlers around to test him out.