Melbourne: Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden finally announced his retirement from international cricket during a press conference at Gabba on Tuesday.
“Today I’m announcing my retirement from representative cricket, effective immediately,” the 37-year old, Hayden read out from a statement.
“Now is the time to move on to the next stage of my life. I’ve lived the dream of every kid who’s ever picked up a bat and ball. It is a privilege and an honour that I’ll always remember,” he said.
Hayden said he wanted to concentrate on charity work - both in helping find Australia’s next Aboriginal cricketer, and supporting the McGrath Foundation - as well as to pursue his other passions such as cooking, fishing and boating.
“Importantly for me today I’m retiring from cricket but not from life,” he said.
“This is a decision that I’ve not taken lightly and I’m here after much thought and consideration and discussion with my family,” Hayden said, adding “To my team-mates who have shared this exciting part of my life, I want to say thank you for your support and friendship.
“We have all relished in the opportunity to play in one of the iconic eras of Australian cricket and as brothers of the baggy green, it is our calling to ensure that cricket remains strong,” he said.
Former team-mate Glenn McGrath said Hayden had nothing left to prove and is one of the all-time greats.
“It’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to play with him and even more so to call him a mate,” McGrath said.
“Hopefully now we’ll be able to spend a bit more time together off the field,” he said.
Cricket Australia chairman Jack Clarke said Hayden was one of the greatest players to wear the baggy green.
“To open the batting with an average over 50 in 103 Test matches puts him among the all-time greats of the game,” Clarke said in a statement.
Hayden, who played 103 Test matches for Australia, scoring 30 centuries and 29 half-centuries, also featured in his team’s two world cup wins.
“Matthew was an integral part of the most successful era in Australian cricket history. It would be an interesting task if the Team of the Century was to be selected today to rate Matthew against Bill Ponsford and Arthur Morris,” Clarke said.
In 2006-07, Hayden, who played 161 ODI, set an Australian record, scoring 181 off 166 balls.
In the year 2007, he scored 659 runs at 73 in the world cup and won ICC One Day Player of the Year and won the same award again in 2008.
Hayden is expected to receive a rousing farewell during a lap of honour at Tuesday’s second Twenty20 match between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba.
Hayden’s exit comes after a tough summer during which he averaged just 19.5 with the bat in Australia’s 2-1 series loss to the Proteas.