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Matthew Hayden on the ‘arrogant’ question he asked before his Queensland debut

Matthew Hayden On His 'Arrogant' Question Before His Queensland Debut
by Henry Clark 3 minute read

Speaking on The Grade Cricketer podcast, former Australia opener Matthew Hayden recalled his Queensland debut, and explained why he asked whether anyone had ever hit a double hundred on debut for the state ahead of his own maiden appearance.

Hayden, who grew up in the state, made his Queensland debut in 1991, just two days after his 20th birthday, but the left-hander said the comment came out of frustration of having to wait a while for his opportunity.

“Yeah I was an arrogant prick, just say it,” Hayden joked. “I made less than [200] so I failed, unfortunately. I tell you what I did learn out of that though, I learned not to be an absolute pillock.

“It was a throwaway line around that but I genuinely felt that I had been waiting that long in the wings to play for Queensland that I was so confident that I wasn’t going to be happy with a par score, you know, a 30.

“I was so confident and I copped so much flack over that comment over the years but the reality of it is I just felt like I had paid my dues. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was South Australia that I came up against to make my debut or England – I was ready and I was ready to play really good cricket.”

Hayden might not have scored 200, but he did manage 149 in his very first knock, an innings in which the other centurion was none other than Australia legend Allan Border.

However, the destructive opener explained how he got a stern telling-off he received from his older brother Gary after celebrating his first innings knock.

“What I probably wasn’t ready for was the level of professionalism and I can remember in the second innings, probably the greatest lesson in my debut match – because it wasn’t the 149, even though it did give me confidence – the lesson was that ‘Never take on board your sponsors’.

“It was a full-strength Power’s brewery at the time that we were sponsored by and we had a function at the Stafford Tavern and I’d had way too much in celebration of my debut innings and I came home and met my brother who was my training partner and five years older. I was off my choppers midway through a game and he said ‘Mate, I haven’t had double shoulder reconstructions for you to get on the piss midway through a game. If you ever do that again, I’ll never through another ball to you in anger.

Hayden says he carried those valuable words throughout his career where he ultimately became one of Australia’s greatest-ever batsmen.

He said: “If you look at the second innings I got nothing, less than 20 anyway, and from that day I always treated the game with the utmost respect. There was never a time where I just took the foot off the throttle. If I had a competitive advantage, I’d definitely drive it in. I just thought if you’re gonna get a good score, make it a dirty big fat one. Don’t take the ground and the game and your colleagues and your mates for granted, because jeez, it’s a fine line you walk between success and failure in any sport, let alone professional sport.”

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