ICL: Indian Cricket League


Hayden an inspiration to Australia, says Gilchrist

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haydenMatthew Hayden’s return to One-day International (ODI) cricket has been hailed as inspirational by his Australia opening partner Adam Gilchrist.

During Monday’s comprehensive seven-wicket World Cup defeat of Sri Lanka the duo equalled the record of 25 fifty-stands in ODIs set by Australian predecessors David Boon and Geoff Marsh.

Hayden himself has been in outstanding form in the Caribbean with 477 runs at an average of 79.50 and only South Africa’s Jacques Kallis has scored more runs in the tournament to date.

But the 35-year-old Queensland left-hander lost his place in the world champions’ one-day side after the 2005 tour of England and only regained his spot during the recent Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia after all-rounder Shane Watson was injured. Hayden then secured his place with an innings of 117 against New Zealand in Perth in January.

“I guess when he came back in, a lot of people would have been looking at it like it’s make-or-break time,” said fellow left-hander Gilchrist.“He identified that and I think he’s said that was a bit of a breakthrough innings for him in regards to allowing him more time to express himself. He’s taken it with both hands and inspired everyone to keep improving,” he remarked.

Wicket-keeper Gilchrist said he felt proud to have batted alongside Hayden. “It’s been a wonderful partnership at the top of the order and statistically we’re there or thereabouts so that’s a huge thrill,” he expressed.

Australia face fellow semifinalists New Zealand in a Super Eights match at the Grenada National Stadium here on Friday (tomorrow). The best stand posted by Black Caps makeshift opening duo Stephen Fleming and Peter Fulton in five games is 44 and they haven’t been alone among first-wicket pairs at the World Cup in struggling with Caribbean pitches.

“I guess walking out there together at the start of the order you have the opportunity to set up a strong foundation for your team,” said Gilchrist. “Fortunately we’ve been doing that well in this World Cup and obviously a number of times over the years so it’s really pleasing,” he expressed. “Matty is in a good place at the moment, he’s hitting the ball so well it’s allowing a me a bit more time to try to occupy the crease and settle in,” he explained.

“We’ve identified that initial period as a time we want to just get through. And the way Matty’s going we’re not just getting through, we’re getting through at a pretty decent scoring rate as well,” he explained.

“It’s worked well for us. Some teams have found it difficult and that’s why we wanted to target that period and establish a foundation,” he added. Gilchrist, himself renowned as a rapid run-scorer, has been happy to play second fiddle to Hayden as Australia chase an unprecedented third straight World Cup title.

“He was left out for a year and he was really stung back by that. He went away and had a burning desire,” Gilchrist explained. “When he made it, he allowed himself to play with so much freedom. It’s almost like a second chance or a last chance. He’s playing so well, it allows me to relax and not feel I have to dominate the bowling. He’s just a fantastic part of this team,” he remarked.

Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, Cricket Stars.

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