The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t chase 381: Matthew Hayden
- ‘Nowadays, players are fitter and stronger... Moreover, they don’t shy away from challenges... ’

Mumbai, Nov. 1: Less than a month after landing cricket’s prized crown, Matthew Hayden has revealed he will be seeking to better his own record-smashing 380 (the numero uno individual Test score). Hayden said so during an interaction with The Telegraph — perhaps his first one-on-one on the current tour — late last evening.

Speaking at The Taj poolside, the genial left-hander remarked: “Basically, you’ve got to set yourself up and try to break your own record... Indeed, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t chase it whenever the opportunity comes along. Of course, I accept the game situation must be such to facilitate that.”

In between signing autographs and obliging fans desperate for a photograph with Australia’s newest icon, Hayden added: “Looking back on that Perth innings (against Zimbabwe), I was fortunate to get into a situation whereby I could move towards bettering (Brian) Lara’s 375...I didn’t set out to, but...”

Is there a ‘fear’ that somebody may push him to No. 2'

Hayden’s response was quicker than the fastest on offer from a Shoaib Akhtar or a Brett Lee: “No, there’s no fear... No worry, either... I suppose somebody will get to 381... But, then, as I’ve told you, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t chase it myself...”

Grinning, he continued: “In any case, nowadays, players are fitter and stronger... They can spend hours at the crease... Moreover, they don’t shy away from challenges... In fact, there are quite a few who could do one better — only, it will probably be somebody from the top order...”

Asked whether he would now be gunning for Saeed Anwar’s ODI record (194 versus India in Chennai, 1996-97), Hayden answered: “You would always give yourself a chance... However, because of the boundaries, it won’t be possible in Australia... To my mind, the sub-continent is more suited for having a crack...”

Well, that’s a ‘warning’ from a hungry and fiercely determined 32-year-old...

Incidentally, Hayden’s point about the sub-continent being more conducive to jumbo one-day scores is borne out by facts: Four of the top five innings have been authored in either the sub-continent or Sharjah, which is just a couple of hours away. The one exception is Sir Viv Richards’ 189 not out in Manchester (1984).

Postscript: This has nothing to do with records, but Hayden believes in taking in as much of the sights and sounds on tour as possible. As much of the cuisine, too. So, towards that end, he joined the chef of a high-profile restaurant (during a promo tour yesterday) for a first-hand feel and taste of desi preparations.

Hayden quite “enjoyed” that experience.

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