The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest annual event on the global cricket calendar. Started in 2008 with a lot of hope but cautious scepticism, having gone through many ebbs and flows, the league has emerged stronger each year to showcase the world’s best talents on a single stage. The league has established itself as one of the biggest platforms for youngsters to flaunt their skills – a celebration where cricket’s largest global community meet, compete, share and build bridges.
Marking the 12th anniversary of the decorated league, cricket.com celebrates and honours the legends of the IPL by inducting them to the 'Cricket.com IPL Hall of Fame' – stars who not only dazzled on the field of play but elevated the stature of the league to skyrocketing heights by their sheer presence. This year cricket.com will induct 15 such legends. Our eighth "Cricket.com Hall of Fame" inductee is the destructive yet consistent left-handed batsman from Australia – Matthew Hayden.
Teams: Chennai Super Kings
IPL titles: 1 (2010)
Played in the IPL playoffs in two seasons (2009, 2010)
- Orange Cap winner in 2009
- Qualified for the semi-finals in all seasons that he played and won the title in 2010
- In the first three seasons of the IPL, among overseas players, only Adam Gilchrist (64) hit more sixes than Hayden (44)
- Among batsmen with 500+ runs in the first six overs in the IPL, Hayden has the fourth-best average (46.08)
- Among only nine batsmen in IPL history currently to have scored 1000+ runs, and have an average of 35+ and a strike rate of 135+
What makes him HoF worthy: Consistency while batting at a very good strike rate
Sometimes, in cricketing circles, you see this hypothetical question doing the rounds: Which batsmen who never played T20 cricket would have been superb in the format if they had featured in it? The answers to such a question usually see the names of Sir Don Bradman and Sir Viv Richards come up.
Similarly, there is also a debate that goes around at times regarding cricketers whose professional careers were in its latter stages when T20 cricket took off. So, sometimes, the above question is modified to reflect batsmen who played T20 cricket but were in the twilight of their careers when the format became prominent. One name that is often mentioned when such a discussion is on is former Australian opener Matthew Hayden.
During Australia’s period of dominance during the noughties, Hayden was one of the most destructive batsmen in the world. A batting average of 50.73 in Tests and 43.80 in ODIs speaks volumes about his consistency at the international level.
The first T20 International (T20I) was played in 2005 and, at the time, Hayden was already 33 years old. He would end up playing just nine T20Is and performed admirably as expected – averaging 51.33 and possessing a strike rate of 143.92. He was also the top run-getter in the inaugural T20 World Cup (then known as the World T20) in 2007.
In the auction held ahead of the first IPL in 2008, Hayden was bought for $375,000 by the Chennai Super Kings. The reason he went for a lower price when compared to some other world-class cricketers in the auction pool was because of his unavailability for a large part of the tournament as Australia toured West Indies in May that year.
While Hayden played just four matches in the first season of the IPL, retirement from international cricket in early 2009 meant that he was available for the entire second edition. While he won the Orange Cap for having scored the most runs (572) in IPL 2009, the most impressive aspect of his game was his consistency.
During the only season to be held in South Africa, Hayden played 12 innings and scored less than 25 just once. And in nine of those knocks, he scored 40+. Such consistency, combined with a strike-rate of 144.81, and you had the dream T20 batsman.
Individually, Hayden did not have a great third season in the IPL. While his 93 off 43 balls against Delhi Daredevils and the use of a mongoose bat is well remembered, he averaged just 21.62 and had a strike rate of 124.01. In the final, he played a very uncharacteristic innings, scoring 17 from 31 deliveries. But at the end of the day, that mattered little as Hayden ended his IPL career on a high with CSK winning the title. After having held the team’s batting together the previous season, it was a well-deserved medal for the Australian batsman.
Across three seasons of the IPL, Hayden scored 1107 runs at an average of 36.90 and a strike rate of 137.51 with a winner’s medal to boast. While he played very few international matches in the T20 format, in the IPL, he had made quite the impact. You sometimes wonder how many records the Kingaroy-born cricketer would have held if the tournament was around when he was younger.
NOTE: The 'Cricket.com IPL Hall of Fame' only considers players who have retired from the IPL and last played in or before the 2018 season.