Standing at 6-foot, 4-inches, and generally half-way down the pitch, Matthew Hayden was a powerful, imposing opening batsman, who generally turn the tables on the intimidatory tactics of fast bowlers. To add to that, he was skillful too. Hayden scored hundreds at an alarming rate. Generally, if he got to 50, he would continue on to score a century. And, as his world-record performance at the time, 380 against Zimbabwe, he could also bat for a long time. At the end of 2001, Hayden broke Bob Simpson’s record for most runs in a calendar year. So impressive were his century-making skills, that Hayden would get to 20 centuries in just 55 Tests, and surpass Don Bradman’s 29 later. Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting are the only other Australians who can boast scoring more centuries, but neither can say, that they scored four centuries in a row, twice in their lifetime.

Career Statistics

Full name: Matthew Lawrence Hayden

Born: October 29, 1971, Kingaroy, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Brisbane Heat, Chennai Super Kings, Hampshire, ICC World XI, Northamptonshire, Queensland

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Batting averages

         Mat    Inns    NO   Runs    HS    Ave        BF          SR      100   50

Tests   103    184    14      8625   380   50.73     14349    60.10      30     29

 

Achievements

Team: Australia (1994-2009)

  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score (2003-2004)
  • Highest score of 380 is Australia’s all-time record
  • Played all 184 Test innings as an opener
  • Scored 31 Test centuries, the third most by an opening batsman
  • His 8625 runs are the fourth-most by an opener in Tests

Rugby Australia (RA) interim CEO Rob Clarke wants a swift return to play and to get a handle on the organisation's financial state.

Clarke outlined his two key objectives at his first media conference in the role on Thursday, having met with board members on Zoom beforehand.

The former Brumbies and Rebels CEO has replaced Raelene Castle after her controversial reign came to an end last month.

He is in no doubt as to the scale of the task facing him, with rugby on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a huge monetary impact.

"There's a lot to be done," said Clarke. "The game has gone through a very, very challenging period and the first item on the agenda is to get ourselves playing around the country again.

"I'm delighted with the plans that have been put into place with the team here, we're well positioned for when the restrictions are lifted and will enable us to get rugby played at both a community level and a professional level as soon as we possibly can."

Clarke revealed proposals had been put to the Australian government for the sport to return, with July the earliest date play could resume at the elite level.

"[At the] professional level, our plans have been submitted to the government," he said.

"Assuming that restrictions are lifted as we hope in the next week or so, we would aim to be playing in possibly July with training starting in June, but of course it's all tied to restrictions.

"The government has our proposal and I hope they view it favourably and that will give us a rough time frame."

Prior to her departure, Castle announced provisional losses of $9.4million for RA in 2019, with a much larger deficit – reported as up to $120m ​– on the books for 2020 if rugby does not return this year.

Clarke, however, is hopeful a World Rugby bailout will ease RA's worries.

"That is something that is absolute priority, clearly the game is not in healthy financial shape, we know that, the exact details I'll get across in coming days," he said.

"I'm confident that World Rugby money is secure and that will be approved imminently and that goes a long way to relieving some immediate financial pressures. But I need a little bit more time to get under the numbers and understanding where we're at."

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are talismanic figures who set the tone for their respective international sides, according to David Warner.

Australia's Smith and India's Kohli are two of the finest batsmen of their generation, occupying first and second spot respectively in the current Test rankings.

The duo are set to meet if India's tour of Australia – scheduled to begin in October – goes ahead, although significant doubt remains as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat.

If it should go ahead, Warner expects to see great things from the two leading men, who he says act as figureheads for their sides.

"When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs," Warner told Cricbuzz.

"They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else's morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It's a very bizarre situation.

"They both love spending time in the middle. Virat's passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve's would be.

"Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that's how he sees things. He's hitting them out in the middle, he's having fun, he's enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.

"Virat, obviously, doesn't want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he's going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate.

"He's going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in [to play their own game], especially in the Indian team you've got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well."

Rugby Australia (RA) director Peter Wiggs has resigned just over a month after joining the board.

Wiggs was elected as a director on March 30, but his resignation was confirmed on Wednesday.

The Supercars chairman was poised to become RA chairman before a fallout over his chief executive plans, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a statement, RA chairman Paul McLean said: "Peter has decided to step down from the board and I understand his reasons.

"He has undertaken some very important work and has made a valuable contribution to the organisation, in a very short time, and we are thankful for his contribution.

"The immediate priority of the board is to install a replacement for Peter, and an interim chief executive. I will provide an update on those matters at the appropriate time."

Marnus Labuschagne has made a stunning start to his Test and ODI careers and the Australia batsman is also eager to get his chance in the Twenty20 format.

Labuschagne, 25, earned a national contract last week after impressing in Tests and ODIs, formats of the game he averages 63.43 and 50.83 in respectively.

The right-hander has played just 10 T20s during his career, making 97 runs at 12.12, but is yet to represent Australia in the format.

However, Labuschagne is keen to star in all three formats for his country if he gets the chance.

"By no means do I want to limit myself to only those two formats. I definitely have ambition to play T20 cricket for Australia," he said in a video interview.

"Obviously my opportunities have been minimal and with the schedule it doesn't look like there might be too many other opportunities in that actual format.

"For me, it's about just scoring runs in one-day cricket and Test cricket for Australia and if I get opportunities down the road to make sure I take them.

"I think by no means do I want to restrict myself to being only a two-format player, I think there's definitely ambition and drive to play T20 cricket."

In 14 Tests, Labuschagne has already made 1,459 runs, while he already has an ODI ton in just seven games.

But the South Africa-born batsman said he felt no pressure to continue delivering.

"For me it's just about making sure that my processes, that I'm prepared, that I understand what the game requires and then to make decisions upon that," Labuschagne said.

"If that means that I get runs then that's great, and if that means I miss out for me it's just about going back to the chalkboard and understanding my game and making sure I continue to learn from that."

Usman Khawaja has revealed he is "very shocked" at the financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) finds itself in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CA stood down the vast majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year, with concerns over when international action will be able to resume.

Australia are due to stage the ICC T20 World Cup, as well as welcome India for a lucrative tour, yet their home schedule could be at risk because of the global health crisis.

Admitting it is disappointing how the situation has played out, Khawaja hopes CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) can work together to come through what he feels is a cash-flow problem that could have been avoided.

"I was very shocked. I knew our projections for revenue were still very high and I think they still are, depending on what happens with the India series," he told Fox Sports.

"It's a bit confusing. I don't have all the financial information in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a cash-flow problem at the moment.

"There's obviously a little bit of mismanagement there somewhere, with the portfolio and putting a lot of money into the share market.

"To me that's Business 101. To make sure you have enough cash reserves if c**p hits the fan.

"So I'm a little bit disappointed on that front ... but what's been done is done now, so it's just our responsibility as CA and ACA to work through this."

Khawaja was absent from the list of players to be handed national contracts by CA this week, having not played a Test since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes in England.

The left-hander, who averages over 40 in the longest format, still believes he is one of the best six batsmen in the country and feels the criticism of his play against spin is unjustified.

"Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I'm one of the top six batsmen in the country," Khawaja said.

"My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius.

"But the most important thing is to score runs."

Unheralded West Indies middle-order batsman Larry Gomes has rated his century against India at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago as his best.

Australia have replaced India at the top of the ICC Test rankings and are also the number one Twenty20 side in the world.

India had been the top-ranked Test side since October 2016 but have dropped to third behind Tim Paine's men and New Zealand.

Australia lead the way with 116 points, with the Black Caps on 115 and Virat Kohli's side - still top of the Test Championship - amassing 114. South Africa dropped below Sri Lanka into sixth spot.

Results from 2016-17 were wiped off when the latest rankings were calculated, with matches played since May last year rated at 100 per cent and those from the previous two years 50 per cent.

Australia drew the Ashes series in England 2-2 last year before whitewashing Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil. 

There have been plenty of changes in the T20 order, with Australia rising to the summit for the first time since rankings were introduced in 2011.

They replace Pakistan, who slip to fourth, with England up to second and India into third.

World champions England have increased their advantage over India at the top of the ODI rankings to eight points.

Dave Rennie remains committed to taking over as Australia head coach despite the departure of CEO Raelene Castle last week.

Castle resigned her role at Rugby Australia after being told she no longer had the support of its board, with chairman Paul McLean later saying concerns over her mental well-being after "abhorrent" social media "bullying" played a part in the board's thinking.

Her departure led to speculation Rennie may reconsider his post, with Castle said to have been an influential factor in his decision to take the Wallabies' top job.

But Rennie, who was reportedly sounded out about replacing Steve Hansen as New Zealand coach, will join up with Australia, though when that might be remains a little unclear as the Glasgow Warriors coach awaits news on whether the Pro14 and European Champions Cup can resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am really gutted at the decision to move Raelene on," Rennie told reporters. 

"She is a big part of the reason I signed with Australia. I was really impressed by her. She had a real clean plan over what the next few years looked like.

"I am really disappointed. But she exited with dignity and class. I am disappointed with the decision but clearly I want a chat with the board and [to] get clarity over what the plan looks like now.

"I am still very committed and we have been doing a lot of work in and around preparation for when the new season comes around."

Rennie added that he remains in constant contact with RA over when exactly his job can begin, with travel restrictions in place due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

"I've been in constant contact - probably every second day I'm talking to people in Australia," Rennie added. 

"Scott Johnson [RA's director of rugby], who also played a big part in getting me over there, we're talking all the time. 

"We've got a management group that's trying to drive stuff and connect with Super Rugby coaches.

"The relationship with all Super Rugby clubs has been really good and has made a difference. We're all trying to work together to improve the athletes, especially when they're isolated."

Tim Paine says Australia's players will not be greedy if they are asked to take a pay cut as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Australia (CA) will stand down the majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year amid the COVID-19 crisis.

CA is also in negotiations with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) over player salaries.

With such uncertainty over when they will next take to the field at international level, Test captain Paine knows the players must look at the bigger picture.

"Players need to know the absolute financial positions of the game and the players aren't going to be greedy," he told ABC Radio.

"Our livelihood, all the people associated with the ACA and the players' association, their livelihood is dependent on the game of cricket being healthy.

"So at the moment if a pay cut for us is on the cards and that keeps our game thriving well into the future, then that’s something we'll certainly have to look at."

Paine was not surprised when he learned of CA's financial situation, though.

He added: "I think commercially a lot of sponsors have been pretty hard hit and it's obviously going to hit Cricket Australia at some stage then as well.

"I think there's a bit of safeguarding towards the potential of India not coming [for a tour starting in October] which is worth something like 250 to 300million [Australian] dollars."

It is 17 years to the day since Jacques Rudolph announced himself on the Test stage with a magnificent debut double-century for South Africa against Bangladesh.

Rudolph crafted a brilliant 222 not out on day three of a crushing innings-and-60-run win in Chittagong aged only 21.

Australia's Charles Bannerman was the first cricketer to score a century on his Test bow against England way back in 1877, while the great W.G. Grace also hit a debut hundred.

We pick out five of the best debuts in the longest format over the years.

 

TIP-TOP FOSTER MAKES AUSTRALIA SUFFER

Reginald Erskine Foster, or 'Tip' as he was known, grasped his opportunity with both hands after being selected for the first Ashes Test in 1903.

Business commitments prevented Foster from making his England debut earlier, but he made up for lost time in Sydney with a record-breaking innings.

He made 287 - more than Australia's first innings total - after coming in at number five in the tourists' first innings, finding the boundary on 37 occasions.

England went on to win by five wickets thanks to Foster's knock, a Test record on debut. 

 

SWEET 16 FOR MASSIE

Bob Massie could not have dreamed of a better start to what proved to be a short Australia career.

The seamer tore through England in both innings of the second Test at Lord's in June 1972, claiming an incredible 16 wickets in the match.

Massie took 8-84 in the first innings and 8-53 second time around, setting up an emphatic eight-wicket victory.

His match figures of 16-137 are the fourth-best in Test history, not bad for a bowler who went on to play in only nine matches for his country.

 

ROWE THE KING OF SABINA PARK

Big things were expected of Lawrence Rowe ahead of his West Indies debut on his home ground Sabina Park against New Zealand in 1972.

The Jamaican batsman lived up to the hype in spectacular fashion, striking a flawless 214 in the first innings in Kingston.

Rowe inflicted more punishment on the tourists' attack in the second innings with 100 not out, becoming the first man to score a double-century and a hundred on his Test debut.

New Zealand salvaged a draw, but that did not take the gloss of the exploits of Rowe, who said: "This is my home ground, and I have no right to get out here."

 

TEENAGER HIRWANI TEARS THROUGH WINDIES

Narendra Hirwani hit the ground running with a sensational India bow against West Indies in Chennai 32 years ago.

The bespectacled leg spinner took 16 wickets in the fourth Test, with 8-61 in the first innings and 8-75 to put the seal on a 255-run thumping.

The 19-year-old claimed the scalps of greats such as Viv Richards, Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson on a pitch that he would have loved to have rolled up and taken with him.

Hirwani played only 17 Tests, with his staggering debut proving to be something of a false dawn but his match figures of 16-136 versus the Windies are the third-best in the longest format.

 

RUDOLPH TAMES TIGERS

Rudolph was just 21 when he got his chance to showcase his talents in the longest format and he showed his class in MA Aziz Stadium.

The left-hander shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 429 with Boeta Dippenaar, a South Africa record and the 10th highest in Test history.

Rudolph hit two sixes and found the rope 29 times in a masterful innings, laying the platform for a huge victory along with Dippenaar.

Bangladesh were unable to take a wicket on day two and were eventually put out of their misery when Graeme Smith declared on the third day.

Raelene Castle was subject to "abhorrent" social-media "bullying" from "faceless names" during her time as Rugby Australia (RA) CEO, according to the body's interim chairman Paul McLean.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Castle had resigned from her role following internal and external pressures.

Castle faced criticism for RA's handling of the Israel Folau case and the rejection of an initial broadcast deal from FOX Sports.

RA has also faced financial issues from the coronavirus pandemic, but McLean defended Castle, who he said always worked decisively.

"Criticism is easy, being cynical is easy, but decision making is tough. She was able to do that and do that with some clarity," he said. 

"She would run through broken glass to get things done, and she has done that.

"One of my greatest concerns with Raelene was her welfare and how she was on a daily basis because a lesser person would have thrown the towel in ages ago, quite simply

"So the discussion that we had to have is: What is the succession plan if Raelene walked in or rang me and said 'I'm gone, I can't do this anymore'? So we've had some broader discussions about that for the last six months.

"And I suppose it crystallised with some new eyes around the table, and it probably crystallised given the circumstances we're all faced with from a general economy and how we're living our life at the moment. So that Wednesday evening discussion probably crystallised some thinking that had been happening for six months."

McLean hit out at the outside abuse Castle received and said certain sections of the media were guilty of reporting misinformation.

He added: "I think the things that you don't read, that you don't see, and I'm not a social media person, but I'm aware of some of the things that were said over a period of time in a quite vicious and vitriolic way. 

"So I think it's the silent forces, the dark forces, I suppose, are the things that upset me most.

"I think most of you as professionals on things like that would come through the front door and get the information correct before and then write about it. I think it's the people who didn't ask for the information, didn't know the facts, or were just one of those faceless people out there. That was the damaging thing from her perspective.

"And she shared some of that with me, which I found quite abhorrent. [If not for the] unwarranted criticism and, in fact, bullying, I think it might have been a different scenario."

Castle departed in the wake of a letter to RA from 11 former Australia captains demanding a change.

McLean said constructive talks had been held with Nick Farr-Jones, whose name was among the skippers who signed the letter.

"I've had numerous conversations with Nick Farr-Jones, and let's be clear here, it's a very small collective of people who have been involved in the game of late; the significance of that group is probably the people who aren't on the list... and I have had constructive discussions with Nick about that," McLean said.

"It's great that people want to put their hand up and be involved but they need to be a part of the process. And one of the things that we've done reasonably well over the last six months or so is be on the journey with the member unions."

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle has quit her post amid pressure from the board and a raft of former Wallabies captains.

She confirmed her exit on Thursday in a statement to ABC early evening show 7.30 – saying fellow senior figures at Rugby Australia had called for "clean air" in the organisation.

Castle told the programme: "I made it clear to the board that I would stand up and take the flak and do everything possible to serve everyone's best interests.

"In the last couple of hours, it has been made clear to me that the board believes my no longer being the CEO would help give them the clear air they believe they need.

"The game is bigger than any one individual – so this evening I told the chair [Paul McLean] that I would resign from the role."

She departs in the wake of a letter to Rugby Australia from 11 former national team captains that called for the "current administration to heed our call and stand aside".

The skippers included Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan, Michael Lynagh and Stirling Mortlock, with the letter leaked to Australian media.

It reportedly described Australian rugby as having "lost its way" due to "poor administration and leadership over a number of years".

The captains said: "We speak as one voice when we say Australian rugby needs new vision, leadership and a plan for the future.

"That plan must involve, as a priority, urgent steps to create a much-needed, sustainable, commercial rugby business."

Cricket Australia are considering all options to ensure the Test series against India goes ahead as scheduled later in 2020, including hosting all matches at the Adelaide Oval.

With Australia and many of the world's nations still in lockdown amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sport in the country is suspended indefinitely.

India are scheduled to tour Australia from October to January, with four Tests planned along with three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches.

The T20 games are set to go ahead before the T20 World Cup, which is still due to take place in Australia between October and November.

While doubt remains over whether the tournament or tour will be able to go ahead, Cricket Australia’s chief executive Kevin Roberts is open to exploring every option.

"At this point, we won't rule anything out in terms of the Indian series," Roberts told reporters. 

"Along with the BCCI, the Indian players and their support staff, we want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world, whether or not there are people at the venue or not sitting in the stands.

"So we'll explore all viable options, many of which wouldn't have been contemplated until now. We are in a different world where all of a sudden we're being grateful for what we have rather than lament about things that we don't.

"What we are working on is our partnership with the BCCI. Whether that be about the pursuit of five-Test series in the future or whether it be about finding the most creative ways to ensure that together we can deliver an international Test series that inspires the cricket world throughout next summer.

"That's our focus. And we are planning for that and trying everything we can to make that happen."

One possibility that has been mooted is holding every match in Adelaide, with players housed in the ground's hotel - a solution Australia bowler Josh Hazlewood would be open to.

"It's obviously a last resort I guess," he said on Monday.

"But I think if anywhere could do it, it's probably Adelaide. It gives a bit to both batting and bowling. It's not ideal. We want to get around to all parts of Australia and challenge ourselves on all those different conditions, but if it had to happen, that's probably one of the best spots for it."

Rugby Australia (RA) is discussing the possibility of playing a makeshift trans-Tasman competition and Bledisloe Cup series later this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Super Rugby season was suspended last month due to COVID-19 and plans for a domestic competition as part of a way to continue the campaign were put on hold.

Australia and New Zealand, however, have managed to halt the spread of coronavirus and travel conditions could eventually be eased.

After agreeing a pay cut with players on Monday, RA is eyeing a provincial competition and a 2020 Bledisloe Cup series between the Wallabies and All Blacks.

"Yeah it's certainly one of the models that we've got worked through at the moment and we remain in consistent discussions with New Zealand because obviously that makes a lot of sense," RA chief executive Raelene Castle told reporters via a conference call on Tuesday.

"The indications we're getting from government agencies is that the sequence of opening up is likely to be domestic first, then into maybe trans-Tasman and maybe Pacific, and then international.

"So we have a number of different scenarios that we are [looking at] and that's certainly one that we are in conversations with New Zealand about."

Castle added: "If the governments don't let us travel and the governments don't open international borders to allow teams to come in to this environment, we might not have any choice but to review what the structures look like [in terms of] what we deliver at the back-end of this year and then potentially what we could deliver into '21.

"So it won't be driven by what SANZAAR want to do, it will be driven by what governments allow and which countries open up their borders at what times. And certainly all of the indications that we are getting from the Australian and New Zealand governments is that they are very proud of the fact that they've managed to control this very well and limited the damage and the loss of life, and they're not willing to open that up again quickly to risk that they go backwards again.

"So that's an overlay that we as a SANZAAR community have to be dealing with and those are conversations that are actively happening."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.