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Hayden draws curtain on cricket career
By Laine Clark
17:01 AEST Thu Sep 20 2012
Australian batsman Matthew Hayden
Former Test batsman Matthew Hayden has called time on his illustrious cricket playing career.

Only Matthew Hayden could link Kevin Pietersen's future, the Australian team's plight, the state of world cricket and fishing rods in one press conference.

Or, it seemed, in one answer.

And all at a media event supposed to reflect on his glittering career.

It was just another reason why Hayden, 40, will be missed after he retired from all forms of cricket on Thursday by knocking back a second season with Big Bash League Twenty20 side Brisbane Heat.

"There is a lot of emotion but you can only cry so many times on national television," laughed Hayden, who made a teary farewell to international cricket in 2009 after amassing 8625 runs in 103 Tests.

"The cricket bats and balls get replaced with fishing rods and reels, surfboards and (cooking) utensils - but I will miss it."

Hayden looked forward to sitting on the "other side of the fence" and could not wait for Test world No.1 South Africa's tour of Australia this summer, saying it would be a perfect workout ahead of next year's Ashes.

"They (South Africa) have been biting at the bit for a long time (to play) against Australia because we have had a considerable amount of wood on them for a long time," he said.

"If you want preparation for that (Ashes) tournament you want it to be hard and well fought.

"(So) it is going to be interesting to see how we stand up against a world class side (like South Africa)."

And the ex-Test opener expected Pietersen to again be an Ashes thorn in Australia's side despite the controversial batsmen's standoff with England.

"He is a world class player and they would be mad not to have Kevin Pietersen in the side," he said.

After helping Australia dominate world cricket, Hayden has watched their No.1 ranking slip but had no worries about their future.

"We house without any doubt the best domestic competition in the world which gives you the building blocks to enable high performance teams to come through," he said.

"The great players come and go...(but) our future is incredibly bright."

However, he did worry about their cluttered schedule, hinting there were too many meaningless tournaments.

"The World Cup in 2015 is going to be significant but there are other tournaments like the ICC Champions Trophy that holds little to no relevance on the cricket landscape," he said.

"For the fan there is definitely too much cricket.

"For the player there is definitely not enough relevance as to the tournaments that you play.

"The longer (50-over) versions of the game need some refining...(so) every game is as important as the last one."

Hayden did find time to reflect.

The Queensland public's "Give Mat a Bat" campaign and a mountain of domestic runs finally led to his Test debut in 1994 but he did not cement his spot until 2000.

"The Australian public fought tooth and nail to get me into the Australian side and for that I am continually indebted to them," Hayden said.

"I am really pleased that I didn't let them down."


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