RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Matthew
Matthew Hayden - Standing My Ground

Published by:
HarperCollins Publishers India - a joint venture with The India Today Group
A-53, Sector 57, Noida 201301, India

Foreword by
Andrew Flintoff

Phone: 0120-4044800


Price: Rs.599/-

Matthew Hayden still holds the record for the highest individual scores by an Australian in both Tests (380 against Zimbabwe at Perth in October 2003 as well as in ODIs(181 not out against New Zealand at Hamilton on February 20, 2007). His superb batting at the top was one of the main factors that helped Australia extend their domination over world cricket for fifteen years.

Hayden was one of the finest batsmen of Australia's all-conquering Test cricket side of the last decade. Matthew Hayden - Standing My Ground is his outspoken and revealing life story. Hayden had opened the Australian innings in Tests during the zenith of its cricketing success in recent years. And while much of Australia's success was due to brilliant bowling of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Hayden's opening stands with Justin Langer laid the foundation of their many triumphs.

In his autobiography, Hayden reveals the many self-doubts that troubled him at times during his international career, magnified further by the doubters in the media and the cricket community.

The former Aussie opener, who briefly held the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings, recalled the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies as the moment he enjoyed most in his career. "If the World Cup is played for another 100 years, I doubt there'll be a better team effort than Australia's in 2007. It was almost flawless. We had four of the top ten run-scorers and four of the top six wicket-takers. In eleven games, we never lost more than six wickets and our tail never had to bat. The man of the series, Glenn McGrath, could have played the entire tournament without any gear - he never once had to pad up. Extraordinary."

Hayden says he has seen many legends from close range and decided to put them together in his All-Star XI - the best players he confronted throughout his international career. Virender Sehwag, Graeme Smith, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh, Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh (12th man) figure in his list.

Sachin, according to Hayden, is "quite a shy guy, and I can't claim to know him well at all. He kept his distance. But for Sachin to survive and thrive in international cricket for two full decades is extraordinary. He had to negotiate not only Warne and McGrath, but also Walsh and Ambrose and Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. And he handled them all."

Hayden considers Curtly Ambrose as the best bowler he has faced in his career. "Curtly gets the nod by a country mile. Others may be have been quicker but he was quick enough, and his ability to hold his line and deck the ball away from left-handers made him an absolute menace. He didn't really swing the ball but he didn't need to, because he had everything else - bounce, consistency, endurance, seam, magnifient body language and a fierce will to win."

Hayden has paid a rich tribute to Shoaib Akhtar. "Put Shoaib Akhtar and me together and you had cricket's 'perfect storm'. We pressed each other's buttons. I loved facing Shoaib because everything about him - his pace, aggression and self-indulgent behaviour - roused my competitive instincts to fever pitch. We respected each other's ability, but there was no friendship. And I never thought he had enough respect for the game.

"Nevertheless, Shoaib had amazing gifts. In Perth in 2004 he bowled me with a massive hooping banana-like inswinger that I let go. It was one of the best balls I have ever faced - just unplayable. If I had to face that ball 100 times over it would have got me 100 times."

Hayden says "this book isn't a boundary-by-boundary account of my career. It is not a strict chronology of my life inside and outside the boundary fence. Instead, I have tried to focus on the innings and the people that mattered most - the ones that shaped me. I am proud of my career and my journey in life. I saw the game from all angles and, thanks to the IPL, even had the chance to immerse myself in another culture."

Hayden reveals how the great Australian team often conned their rivals into running scared with fierce verbal intimidation. "Our intimidation of other teams was very much a collective effort, with players filling a range of unspoken yet clearly defined roles."

At the recent book launch party, he mentioned Australia, India and Sri Lanka as the three most favourites for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

Hayden credited his mother for making him extremely competitive and aggressive - the two qualities associated with him when ever he was on the field.

Crunching The Numbers section should have been exhaustive. One and a half pages do not justify Hayden's glittering international career.

We are thankful to Ms.Ayushi Srivastava, Marketing Assistant, HarperCollins Publishers India for sending the review copy of the book for our website.