The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hayden: Life won’t change
- ‘Difficult speculating who can get past me’

Calcutta, Oct. 11: Matthew Hayden didn’t sleep very well last night (“I tossed and turned”) but, this morning, wasn’t complaining. He did, after all, wake up owning the most envied record in cricket — highest scorer in a single Test innings.

“My mind kept going at a million miles an hour,” was Hayden’s response to a query from The Telegraph. Not many hours earlier, he made Heath Streak’s Zimbabweans see a million stars in broad daylight.

The answers, to a string of questions from here, were conveyed telephonically through a Cricket Australia (CA) official this afternoon — specifically, after stumps on Day III of the Perth Test.

Despite going five better than Brian Lara’s 375, though, Hayden doesn’t believe life will change.

“The values I’ve been exposed to throughout my life are such that success isn’t going to change me… I don’t see why I shouldn’t remain the same person.”

It’s going to be tough arguing with that.

Moreover, contrary to the janata’s belief, Hayden is convinced his history-creating 380 won’t add to the pressures which inevitably exist at the highest level.

“I’m part of such a terrific team and, so, there’s no question of getting weighed down… Our style is such we don’t allow ourselves to be consumed by pressure… It’s an absolute honour being part of a side which has allowed me to set a record. I’ve been lucky.”

Hayden’s reply to when the achievement really did sink in, was fascinating — quite like his essay at the WACA Ground: “Perhaps, it never will.”

Incidentally, cricket’s newest record-holder was “most thrilled” to learn that infant daughter Grace (“Gracie”) kept blowing kisses at the TV during his 622-minute innings.

Hayden, by the way, will be joined by his wife (Kelly) and daughter before the second Test, in Sydney from Friday. They didn’t take the first flight to Perth (from Brisbane) as, typically, the champion opener is “focussed” on the on-going Test.

It’s no surprise that, following-on, Zimbabwe are in the doldrums.

While Hayden hasn’t set a fresh target, he is “looking forward” to touring Sri Lanka in early 2004 and, then, returning to India for the 2004-2005 Test series.

“I haven’t played in Sri Lanka, so that trip means a lot… The pinnacle, however, will be next season’s Test series in India… Again, that’s something I’m already looking forward to… A number of challenges lie ahead and that trip is right at the top.”

The India-bit is understandable as the last series (2000-2001) saw the ‘rebirth’ of Hayden as an International. He hasn’t looked back since taking guard at the Wankhede 32 months ago.

Hayden didn’t exactly confirm dedicating his feat to the Australian victims of the Bali blasts, a year ago, but did say they were “uppermost” in his thoughts.

Yesterday, he emotionally revealed that the black armband (in memory of the victims) and the Baggy Green had more than inspired: “Those two things just kept me going…”

To a question on who he felt could get past him, Hayden answered: “I’d never backed myself to beat Lara, not even in my wildest dreams… It’s difficult speculating… Yet, I do accept that records are meant to be broken.”

Yes, but…

Meanwhile, CA is still finalising plans to “suitably commemorate” the achievement.

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