Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Hayden urges Australia to embrace Pakistan cricket as tour looms. Hayden regrets not touring Pakistan as a player
Hayden regrets not touring Pakistan as a player
During his playing days, Matthew Hayden had never visited Pakistan. That remains one of his regrets, he claimed on Wednesday. However, he is now donning the batting coach's hat for Pakistan and is entrusted with a responsibility – of helping the emotional national team to world cup glory.
Australia last played in Pakistan, in 1998, and are set to return for a seven-match tour in March 2022 for the first time in 24 years. There have been apprehensions from the Australians over the last two decades to tour the country, and following the withdrawal of New Zealand and England, the PCB wasn't sure if Australia would abide by its commitment either.
Two days earlier, Cricket Australia confirmed its participation in the series, even as doubts linger over the availability of some of its players – partly due to the likely overlap with the IPL as well the doubts that linger on a personal front for the cricketers.
However, Hayden has urged Australia to come and experience the cricket in Pakistan, and urged them to embrace the culture. “I feel that it's incredibly important that the country now embraces Pakistan as a full membership nation, that it allows and supports its incredible fan base, really like no other apart from India, similar sort of passion and commitment to the great game of cricket, that it allows itself – the Australian unit – to come and enjoy the hospitality of Pakistan, to enjoy the overall sense of cricket and the experience of Pakistan.
“It's certainly the one regret that I have in my career is not being able to travel to Pakistan as an international cricketer, in spite of having such great and unique challenges, one of which is as a head coach here right now in Saqlain, who's a wonderful spin bowler. And then a myriad of fast bowlers who naturally I would have loved to have played in a home environment, Waqar and Wasim, Shoaib, just fast bowling like no other. As an opening batsman, that's what you want to try and face, and to not have the opportunity to do that in Pakistan is a regret of mine.
“Embrace it, be a part of the future of Pakistan Cricket, and it's a hugely important part of the cricket community. I'm sure that they are looking forward to traveling to Pakistan.”
Ahead of the semifinals against Australia, while speaking about the talent he has seen in Pakistan, he remembered his former teammate, Dean Jones – who had been associated with Pakistan cricket in various capacities following his retirement as an Australian cricketer.
“I would like to mention Dean Jones, who gave a lot of himself to Pakistan cricket, and his closing words to me I can hear in my ears was “These are my boys. This is something I'm so passionate about.” He was just beautifully connected to Pakistan Cricket. May he rest in peace now, knowing that fact that he's left a legacy within this team, which will last not only this generation but generations to come. If I can add any value to those closing comments from Deano, that would be my greatest honour.”
Hayden may have got a short period of time to work with the group, having been given his initial contract only till the world cup, is hopeful of taking the team to glory.
“From Pakistan cricket point of view, I feel that as a nation that loves cricket as much as it does, and as focused so heavily on cricket, and also to have tournaments including the ones that I was a part of canceled for numerous reasons, it's never more important, and the awareness is heightened that out of this great nation we've got a squad of players here that are ready to perform and are ready to take on not only the semifinals but should we, inshallah, get beyond that, the finals.”