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Opener Hayden confirms retirement

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News conference - Matthew Hayden

Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden has announced his retirement from international cricket after a 17-year first-class career.

The 37-year-old announced his decision in a news conference at his home ground, the Gabba, in Brisbane.

He later took a lap of honour during Tuesday evening's Twenty20 match between Australia and South Africa.

"I have loved so much playing cricket, and I count it as such an honour to have represented my country," he said.

The powerful left-hander scored 8,625 runs at an average of 50.73 during his Test career but averaged less than 20 in Australia's recent 2-1 Test series loss to South Africa, their first home series defeat in 16 years.

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He was dropped for the current Twenty20 games and one-dayers against the Proteas but selectors said they would still consider the country's most successful opening batsman for upcoming Test tours to South Africa and the Ashes series in England.

An emotional Hayden, who is sixth on the all-time list of Test century-makers with 30 hundreds, added: "I know that now is the time to move on.

"I've lived the dream of every kid who has ever picked up a bat and ball and wanted to wear the baggy green (Australian Test cap).

"I am retiring from cricket, not from life, there is still so much that I want to achieve and contribute to the community."

Twice a World Cup winner with Australia, Hayden belted 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries in 161 one-day internationals.

606: DEBATE

He averaged 43.8 in the format, with a top score of 181 not out, and also played in two World Cup-winning squads.

He was the International Cricket Council's one-day international player of the year in 2007 and the Australian ODI player of the year in 2008.

Hayden began his international career in South Africa in 1994 but it was not until the formation of his opening partnership with Justin Langer six years later that his career really took off.

In 2001, he made 549 runs at an average of 109 in a three-Test series in India and two years later set a new world record for the highest Test score when he made 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth, an innings that featured 11 sixes and 38 fours.

He only held the record for six months, however, as former West Indies skipper Brian Lara reclaimed it with an innings of 400 not out against England.

The dominant side of which Hayden was a key part began to break up after the 5-0 whitewash over England in 2006-07, with Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn, Langer and, more recently, Adam Gilchrist deciding to quit international cricket.

McGrath hailed Hayden as a "legend of the game" who had "nothing left to prove".

And Australia captain Ricky Ponting said Hayden, who also played county cricket in England for Hampshire and Northamptonshire, would be remembered as one of the national team's all-time greats.

MATTHEW HAYDEN FACTFILE
First-class debut: Sheffield match for Queensland, Nov 1991
Test debut: 1994 against South Africa in Johannesburg
Test centuries: 30
World record Test score: 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth, Oct 2003

"Taking his 30 Test hundreds out of it, and his average of 50 and all that, he's a massive loss for our dressing room, there's no doubt about that," commented Ponting.

Australia's selectors hoped that Hayden would continue until this summer's Ashes series in England.

But after overcoming an Achilles tendon injury that resulted in him missing the 2008 tour to the West Indies, he has been short of runs in recent Tests, scoring only 149 runs at 16.55 from five matches against New Zealand and South Africa in the current Australian season.

"I'm paid to get runs and when you are short of runs then you have to start asking questions," he said last week.

Hayden's recent struggles prompted the Australia selectors to turn their attention to New South Wales batsman David Warner, who made an explosive debut in last weekend's Twenty20 international against South Africa with 89 off 43 balls.

But Phil Jaques, who has played 11 Tests but is recovering from a back injury, and 20-year-old rookie Phillip Hughes are potential replacements for Hayden in the Test side for next month's return tour of South Africa.

Hayden, meanwhile, is set to play in the second Indian Premier League competition, as he is contracted to the Chennai Super Kings franchise.

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see also
Ponting leads praise for Hayden
13 Jan 09 |  Australia
Langer on Hayden
13 Jan 09 |  Australia
Glamorgan consider Hayden offer
13 Jan 09 |  Glamorgan
Aussies overlook Hayden for ODIs
07 Jan 09 |  Cricket
Hayden ready to fight for place
24 Dec 08 |  Australia
Australia equal Test wins record
06 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Hayden smashes Test record
10 Oct 03 |  Cricket
Australia's inseparable pair
12 May 03 |  WI v Aus 2003
Hayden up with the finest
10 Nov 02 |  The Ashes


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