I'll be ruthless: Hayden
BRISBANE : When Matt
Hayden concedes he hasn't scored a Test hundred in
England, what he really means is that he's yet to score
one. The burly Australian opener, one of the leading
batsmen of his generation, isn't guaranteeing he'll post
an Ashes century in England when the five-Test series
starts at Lord's on July 21. But he's promising he'll be
when he's ruthless, he scores runs. Lots of runs.
Hayden said he made the mistake of placing too much
emphasis on his Ashes campaign in 2001 because of the
traditionally high stakes of the series and because he
hadn't established himself in the Australian lineup.
"I'm going to take a lot of that out this time. I'm not
making it emotional - I just want to be ruthless," he
said from Australia's training camp in Brisbane.
"I'm not going to attach any extra importance to (the
Ashes) and I'm not going to build it up too much," he
added. "I'm not going to go in with blinkers on, but
certainly with a lot of the emotion out of it - I think
that puts me in a good frame of mind."
After a stuttering start to his international career,
Hayden has amassed 5,721 runs in 67 Test matches at an
average of 53.46 and a high score of 380 - a former
He accumulated 20 centuries in his first 55 Tests and is
the only batsman to score more than 1,000 Test runs in
four calendar years.
But he hasn't reached triple figures in his last 12
Tests, dating back to July.
For anyone but Hayden, scoring 1,123 runs in 2004 would
have been a great season. For the 33-year-old opener,
scoring at an average of 43.2 seemed like a form slump.
At one point, he was dropped from Australia's limited-overs
lineup, his slide attributed to a virus he picked up on
Australia's historic Test series win in India.
He responded by scoring 71 and 114 in two innings
against New Zealand when he was recalled.
Since then, an extended break at his island getaway off
Australia's east coast and the birth in April of his son
Joshua - his second child - have Hayden back in the
frame of mind where all he wants to do is score runs.
He couldn't explain why he didn't get any centuries in
England in 2001.
His 234 runs at an average of 34 in Australia's 4-1
series win was a relative flat spot in a year when he
posted 1,391 in 14 Test matches.
"I don't know really why - without looking too far back
- I felt different, like I was really fighting for my
spot the whole time," he said. "I was looking forward to
playing against them here (the next Ashes series) so I
could perform like I knew I could against them.
"It was really satisfying to perform against them out
here, so the challenge is to keep performing against
them on their turf as well."
Hayden belted 494 runs in five Ashes Tests in the
2002-03 series in Australia, including three centuries.
And that's the sort of scoring he's anticipating in
England, by just reverting to the formula that's helped
him score almost 21,000 in first-class cricket.
Still, a century in England isn't at the top of his
"Honestly, it's not how I'm looking at the tour. In the
end, what makes me score runs is just being as attentive
to detail as I possibly can - not too emotional - just
bat. That's my goal for the tour. Simple as that," he