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Australian opener Hayden calls it a day

Australian cricketing greats hailed Mathew Hayden as one of the finest openers the game has ever produced and said the void created by the departure of the burly left-hander would be hard to fill. While former skipper Greg Chappell lauded Hayden's decision to call it a day, Steve Waugh feels the Queenslander has 'redefined the art of opening the batting'.See pics

cricket Updated: Jan 14, 2009 00:40 IST
CA salutes Hayden

Australian cricketing greats hailed Mathew Hayden as one of the finest openers the game has ever produced and said the void created by the departure of the burly left-hander would be hard to fill.

While former skipper Greg Chappell lauded Hayden's decision to call it a day, Steve Waugh feels the Queenslander has "redefined the art of opening the batting".

"It's a career he can be rightfully proud of, he's achieved a lot. After early setbacks he went away and re-thought his game and philosophy on batting and he came back an aggressive, positive player," said Chappell.

He also compared Hayden with the West Indian great Gordon Greenidge for his ability to demolish any bowling attack.

"He intimidated bowlers, he was reminiscent to me of someone like Gordon Greenidge. He did very much the same, he monstered bowlers and really changed the momentum of the game.

"Along with Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist he was one of the most important players of that era and that success that Australia enjoyed. I think his record places him among the best players we've had through our history, he's certainly one of the most dominant opening batsmen we've had," Chappell told local media.

Waugh was of the view that Hayden's trademark attacking style redefined the art of opening the batting.

"It was a trademark of his. I think he redefined the art of opening the batting. It was no longer about getting the new ball and wearing the shine off it, he was going to smash the shine off it and really set the stage and dominate and give us the psychological advantage in that first session," he said. More

Hayden's former opening partner Adam Gilchrist, meanwhile, called the left-hander an 'inspiration' and said his dedication towards his job was uncomparable.

"He was an inspirational player who possessed extraordinary mental strength. His greatest asset was his belief and faith in himself, coupled with an amazing work ethic. Whenever someone told him he couldn't achieve something he just became more determined to prove them wrong.

"He was a brilliant opening batsman who I loved representing this country with."

Pace legend Glenn McGrath feels Australian team has lost some sheen because of Hayden's retirement.

"The aura the Australian team has, they have lost quite a bit more of it because Matty is not there any more. It's hard to replace him because guys like him, they are invaluable. You can't fill that experience for years."

Spin legend Shane Warne feels Hayden's intimidating style would be sorely missed and would be hard to replace.

"He had an aura about him when he went out to bat. The thing that will be missed is his aura around the side with the young players in there now. It's another player gone who will be very hard to replace."

Hayden's another opening mate Justin Langer also agreed the broad-shouldered opener has made the right decision to hang up his boots after 15 glorious years of international cricket.

"I was a bit emotional because when he told me it's final, isn't it? But I think it's a good decision. Physically, he could have gone on and he could have easily moved himself into the runs that we've expected, I have absolutely no doubt about that," he said.

"He's the best opener we've produced statistically and for his influence on the game. He played 103 Test matches and averaged over 50 - that's an incredible career just showing his longevity and endurance, and his champion status.

"He did everything, he was not only the best Test opener, but also the batsman of the World Cup in 2007," Langer added.

Former pacer Jason Gillespie, who has joined the rebel Indian Cricket League, said he used to feel sorry for the opposition bowlers when they came out to bowl to Hayden.

"He intimidated opposition fast bowlers, they might deny it, but he did. I'm sure a few of them thought about wearing a helmet when they were bowling to him, I did. He was like Viv Richards, the way he'd stand there chewing the gum and taking them on.

"As a team-mate it gave you a massive lift to know you could sit in the dressing-rooms with a cup of tea and watch him and Langer do the work," he said.

Meanwhile, Australian captain Ricky Ponting feels the game would never be the same without Hayden.

"You can even look through the history books of the game and try and see if there has ever been a better opening batsman in the game, let alone Australia. Matthew's great legacy will be trying to get every last ounce out of his ability."