Chennai: Matthew Hayden moved swiftly to hold skiers hit in the area around him by trainer Gregory King. The Australian opener might have retired from international cricket but his commitment gleamed at the Chennai Super Kings’ practice session at the MAC here on Friday.
“Life (after retirement) has been good,” said Hayden. with a smile. The Australian opening great added, “I am still strong and fit. I believe there is some more cricket left in me.”
“My only regret is that the IPL will not be held in India this year. I hugely enjoyed my love affair with Indian crowd and Indian cricket,” said Hayden.
He remembered the time in Chennai when he journeyed to India with the Australian Academy team for lessons on playing spin in the sub-continental conditions.
The move turned his international career around. When Hayden returned to India with Steve Waugh’s Australians in 2001, he was a sweeping success.
Hayden is focussed on Twenty20 cricket these days. “It is now a genuine third form of the game and a strong part of the global cricketing calendar. I enjoy the format. It is energetic, fast, and the atmosphere is great. Twenty20 could change the way the game is being played,” said Hayden.
While Hayden admits the conditions in South Africa could favour pacemen, he maintains the pitches there could be good for batting.
“Grounds in Johannesburg and Pretoria, they are high-scoring ones. You have small but fast outfields and the ball will travel.
“The altitude in places like Johannesburg is also a factor. If you play the big shots, the ball carries further.”
He was pleased with Australia’s resurgent 2-1 series triumph in South Africa.
“The quality of first class cricket in Australia is very good. We have a lot of depth. I think the signs for the future are healthy.”
“The Australian cricket culture is strong. Cricket is an integral part of the summer and we keep producing very capable cricketers,” said Hayden.
Asked about Virender Sehwag, another opener who believes in dominating attacks, Hayden said, “I have always admired his batting. He is an inspiring kind of batsman. He makes people watch the game.”