Hayden is latest Aussie hero to call stumps

Matthew Hayden joined the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist as he announced his retirement from international cricket, leaving a depleted Australian team and cricket fans the world over short of another all-time great.


AFP - One of Australia's greatest opening batsmen Matthew Hayden called stumps Tuesday on one of international cricket's most imposing careers.

The 37-year-old batsman did not go out of the game the way he would have wanted -- having to call a press conference to announce his retirement, widely anticipated after his struggling form in Australia's recent series losses.

But the powerfully-built Hayden will be remembered as one of the modern-day cricketing titans, amassing 8,625 runs in 103 Tests at an impressive average of 50.74.

His departure further strips the transitional Australian cricket team of another big-name star, following the retirements of celebrated teammates, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist in the last two years.

Only skipper Ricky Ponting remains of the players who twice (from 1999-2001 and 2006-2008) won a record 16 Tests in succession.

"Today I am announcing my retirement from representative cricket effective immediately," Hayden told the press conference at his home Gabba ground.

"This is a decision that I have not taken lightly and I am here after much thought, consideration and discussion with my family and close friends.

"It is ultimately my decision and I know that now is the time to move on to the next stage of my life and career."

Hayden's decision comes against the backdrop of meagre returns in Australia's back-to-back series losses to India and South Africa.

Since returning from an Achilles injury suffered during last year's Indian Twenty20 Premier League, Hayden scored 383 runs at 23.93 in his last nine Tests, less than half of his career Test average.

Hayden had been desperately trying to cling onto his spot for a final Ashes series in England in mid-year before retiring from the game.

But the signs were there that he had lost the support of selectors, who left him out of the Twenty20 and one-day teams in the wake of the Test series loss to South Africa.

Yet Hayden leaves cricket with 30 Test centuries, which ranks him sixth all-time behind Indian Sachin Tendulkar's 41.

Hayden's 380 scored against Zimbabwe in Perth in October 2003 stands second only to West Indian Brian Lara's world record 400 not out as the highest individual innings in Test cricket.

He formed with Justin Langer one of Australia's more durable opening partnerships in Test cricket.

Langer and Hayden (5,654) ranked second only to legendary West Indian opening pair Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes (6,482) for most combined runs in Test cricket and shared in 14 opening century-plus stands.

Hayden said he had many things he wanted to focus on in life after cricket.

"Importantly for me, today I am retiring from cricket, not from life," he said.

"There is still so much that I want to achieve and contribute to the community.

"I want to use the time now to explore my other passions of fishing, boating, cooking and the outdoors."

Hayden also said he wanted to help promote cricket among Australia's  indigenous community and to continue his work with the Glenn McGrath Foundation for breast cancer sufferers.

"I have no intentions of turning my back on our great game, a game which has given me great joy. Rather I would like to focus on some key areas," he said.

Hayden also played 161 one-day internationals for his country, amassing 6,133 runs at an average of 43.81 and a strike-rate of 78.96.

He played in two World Cups, in South Africa in 2003 and in the West Indies in 2007.

Hayden leaves top level cricket ranking 10th all-time with 128 catches, behind fellow Australian Mark Waugh's record 181.

After an uncertain Test debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in March 1994, Hayden's Test career took off when he first visited India with Steve Waugh's side in 2001.

He scored 549 runs in three Tests with two hundreds and as many half-centuries at an average of 109.80.

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