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EXCLUSIVE | Matthew Hayden: What it means to be an Australian cricketer

Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden has come out on the front foot on what it means to be an Australian cricketer.

The powerful opener had a stellar career for Queensland and for his country, while for so long he was a man Australia could rely on at the top of the order.

Haydos’ power and ability to muscle a ball to the boundary made him one of the most dangerous batsman in world cricket, but for the old bull he always wore his heart on his sleeve.

It comes after an enigmatic couple of days which has seen the blame for Australia’s ball-tampering debacle shift from party to party.

But Hayden said it’s important to know what it means to play for your country.

“The point is and I was one of the great drivers of trying to corporatise cricket,” Hayden said.

“What I mean by that is to get layers of protection, layers of risk management and layers of fantastic marketing and advertising – and high performance was a great example – out of the Argus review came a High Performance Manager.

“In essence I think that review was spot on, I just think from a personal point of view there was a bad choice that was made at the head of it.

“Nothing other than just focusing on that corporate structure that sits around cricket and I think players really bought into that.

“They talk about their own brand – individual and collective brand of cricket – that’s a dangerous word because there is a lot that goes on into any particular brand but guess what one of them is – winning.

“One of them is sticking to a formula, if you look at the great brands over the years when you’re talking simply about brands – a brand like Coca Cola for example – it has changed nothing within its recipes over the years.

“But in cricket people are driven by human instinct, they’re driven as to whether or not there’s passion around the game and whether or not there’s a commitment to stay in touch with people across Australia.

“You want players who are having a bad day to celebrate someone who is having a good day, that’s what it means to be an Australian cricketer.”

It comes after he and fellow former Australian opener and now coach of the national team Justin Langer made history after both became the first dual honorees inducted into the Bradman Foundation.

However, with the bans of Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner to come to an end soon – Hayden acknowledged Australia did cheat – but made it clear that is not what Australian cricket is about.

“I was disappointed in the whole incident,” Hayden said.

“And I’m still disappointed because I still think there’s some over the top penalties.

“I understood last night, Steve Smith can’t captain for another year post his one year of being banished.

“I think that’s ridiculous and I think that should be challenged because I think he’s our natural leader and with great humility, he’s accepted responsibility.

“We now move on and we have to move on because our great game does move on, it moves on through depressions and wars and things a whole lot more significant.

“I’m not missing the point either and Simon Katich who made the point very well that we blatantly cheated.

“Well as Australians we don’t like it when we cheat, that’s something we don’t have in the preamble of the Australian cricket way of playing the game and that’s been acknowledged.

“But how long do we want to cast on our personnel on our people our players our administrators who are doing incredible jobs.”

Hayden had an astonishing record for Australia scoring in excess of 8000 runs at an average of over 50 in the 103 Test matches he played.

He also held the record for a short period of time for the highest score in Test cricket when he plundered 380 against Zimbabwe.

The 47-year-old averaged almost 44 in ODI cricket and over 51 in his short T20 career for his country.

Hayden also endorsed Justin Langer as the man to install the right culture and foundation to bring Australian cricket back to the top.


Listen to the full interview below: