Matthew Hayden shuts down Justin Langer theory in move to help Australia

The Aussie cricket great has put his hand up to help the Australian side ahead of the third Test.

Matthew Hayden, pictured here in India alongside the Aussie cricket team.
Matthew Hayden looks set to help Australia ahead of the third Test against India. Image: Getty

Aussie cricket great Matthew Hayden looks likely to join the Australian camp ahead of the third Test against India, saying he'd gladly help out if called upon. Hayden was among a plethora of Aussie cricket greats who took aim at the current side after their capitulation in the second Test in Delhi saw them left with no chance of winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Former Test captain Michael Clarke said it would be a 'no-brainer' for the Aussies to bring Hayden into camp to act as a specialist advisor, given his proven track record in India. And it looks like that will eventuate, with Hayden revealing on Tuesday that he'd be all-too happy to help - free of charge.

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“One hundred per cent, at any time of the day or night, it is a given that myself - and I’m sure I speak for anyone else that I represent that would have that kind of influence - would 100 per cent be in,” Hayden told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Any time I have been asked to do anything I’ve always said yes at any time of day.”

Hayden denied he had any ill-feeling towards the current squad given the way in which his great mate Justin Langer departed as coach. Hayden and Langer formed a lethal opening partnership for Australia during their Test careers, and Hayden was left seething when Langer was forced out as coach.

“It’s got zero relevance,” he said about his close relationship with Langer. “I’m so far removed from the process of how that went on.”

Aussie coach Andrew McDonald said he was also open to Hayden imparting some wisdom on his batters. He said: "If Matthew can add value to individual players, I'm sure those individual players would definitely engage in a conversation with him."

Questions are being asked about why the Aussie squad didn't reach out to Hayden sooner given his past exploits in the subcontinent, and the fact he was already in India commentating for Star Sports. While Australia has historically struggled in India, Hayden has performed brilliantly. He averaged 110 in the 2001 series and helped the Aussies win the 2004 series - the only time Australia has won a series in India since 1969.

“Look at the staff. Are we getting enough help here? Do we need some more advice, guidance?" Clarke said on Sky Sports radio on Monday.

“Something so simple. You’ve got Matthew Hayden in India at the moment commentating and Mark Waugh as well. They’re at the ground.

Matthew Hayden, pictured here during the second Test between Australia and India.
Matthew Hayden looks on during the second Test between Australia and India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“So it’d be a no-brainer to go to someone like Matthew Hayden, who is a massive sweeper. He’s probably the only Australian batsman that has had success sweeping in India.

“Matty Hayden said it a hundred times on commentary yesterday, ‘Boys, I wouldn’t be sweeping here, don’t sweep, don’t sweep, don’t sweep’. These batters, go and look to Haydos, who’s a sweeping genius.

“I feel we’re a little bit nervous to get outside help because it might be a little critical. I think if you just stay in your bubble in situations like this, that’s where it gets harder because you keep making the same mistakes and the fans get crazier. Do some things to try and get better, that’s what we need to try to do.”

Matthew Hayden exposes Australia's sweeping mistake

Six of Australia's batters were dismissed while playing the sweep shot in a horror collapse of 9-48 in the second innings in Delhi. Hayden was later spotted on the ground with a broom in hand during a TV segment for Star Sports - a reference to Australia's sweep-happy tactics.

Speaking on the 'Cricket Et Cetera' podcast, Hayden said the sweep shot on that pitch in Delhi was fraught with danger. "The ball not going over the stumps means you can only sweep on line," he said.

“You’ve got to see what the Indian batsmen do and that’s come down to the ball. Once you start moving your feet, then they might start tossing it wide, then the sweep shot might be an option.

“I’m never a big fan of saying don’t sweep. I think that’s the wrong mentality because you already saw how productive the shot was. I’m just saying don’t sweep every ball."

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