Hayden slams 'selfish' one-day bats
By Trevor Marshallsea
August 24, 2004
Source: The Age
Matthew Hayden believes too many subcontinental players bat too selfishly for their team's good, and that this helps explain Australia's recent dominance over India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in one-day cricket.
As Australia prepared to take on India in the Netherlands last night seeking a 13th win from 15 meetings, Hayden said a crucial difference between his side and its various subcontinental rivals was that Australian batsmen were more willing to risk personal milestones such as centuries for the sake of keeping their team's run-rate high.
Pakistan, Australia's rival tomorrow in this week-long tournament, has lost 11 of its past 14 matches against the Australians, while Sri Lanka, a possible foe in next month's Champions Trophy semi-finals, has lost eight of its past 11 against Australia.
Hayden's theory will give backing to some of India's critics at home, who fear players can too easily lose sight of team goals for the sake of personal achievements due to the enormous and lucrative cult-hero status bestowed upon them in the cricket-mad country.
"In one-day cricket, if you get to 70 or 80, you can obviously get a hundred by just batting carefully, but we just don't do that," Hayden said. "It affects a batsman's statistics, but we just don't go for those personal marks.
"But counties like India suffer from that. We back ourselves against those countries because they'll get two or three players in the 70s and beyond, and they'll be eyeing off that personal landmark and it'll cost their side 40 or 50 runs as a result. Pretty much all the subcontinental sides are like that. They really can waste a lot of time, and there's no time to waste. Every ball has got to have a priority stamp on it."
Hayden made the comparison while reflecting on his one-day career since becoming a regular member of Australia's limited-overs side at the start of 2002. While his average of 42.08 might not initially inspire as much awe as his Test mark of 58.15, the Queenslander appears to have drawn just as much satisfaction from his career in coloured clothes.
"In one-day cricket, the so-called landmarks like 50s and hundreds are not achieved at the same rate as in Tests, particularly in our side. In one-day cricket, it's partnerships that can really hurt a side and set up a side," said Hayden, who has built his strike-rate to an impressive 78 runs per 100 balls during his time as Adam Gilchrist's opening partner.
Hayden has made four centuries and 22 half-centuries in his 91 one-day international innings, but has drawn more satisfaction from his work in tandem with Gilchrist, especially in last year's World Cup final triumph against India.
While Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn stole the headlines with unbeaten knocks of 140 and 88 in Australia's total of 2-359, Hayden was proud of the 54-ball 37 he scored in a blistering opening stand with Gilchrist.
"Our partnership was 110 in just a bit over 10 overs. The batting awards would have gone to Punter and Marto, and deservedly so, but Gilly and I were really pleased to have built the foundations at real good pace," he said. "That helps us a lot more than the statistic of someone getting a hundred."
If Hayden has one regret about his limited-overs career, it has been his approach to several games against lowly rated opponents. Against smaller nations in the World Cup, Hayden made 33 against the Netherlands, 34 against Zimbabwe, and only 20 against Kenya, while redeeming himself with an 88 against Namibia.
Australia's first game in the Netherlands against India overnight (Melbourne time) was set to start almost five hours late due to rain, with the match having been reduced to 32 overs a side.
I have no idea what Hayden's on about. It would be great if he could give some examples of recent ODIs where a subcontinental batsman has jeapordised the chance of winning a match by going for a personal landmark.