Recapping a sibling story
IN his house in the north Queensland township of Ingham Gary Hayden has a room where younger brother Matthew's representative caps are lined up beside each other.
Town, district, division, state, schoolboy. They all seem to be there.
But they’re not - there are gaps - and that, says Gary, is the story of Matthew Hayden.
"Each cap tells a story but really, it is the ones that aren't there that tell what the story is really about," said Gary, himself a former Australian under 19 batsman.
"It has been a story of setbacks and how he has overcome them. There were tours he missed out on."
As a junior Matthew was occasionally left out of representative sides after being branded too big, too cumbersome, a poor player of spin or too uncoventional.
When 21 players were sent to Adelaide to trial for a 17-man national under-19 tour to England he was one of four players voted off the tour.
During Matthew's formative years the duo was close as any brothers and it seemed every spare minute would see both of them in the nets with Gary bowling for hour after hour.
Stories went around that Gary went several years without hitting Matthew's stumps, so well grooved was his forward defence, and people started to understand them when first class bowlers found it similarly tough to rock his castle.
All those memories washed over Gary yesterday who wasn't sure how he felt.
"I am not sure whether to be sad or celebrate. It is a shutting the door on a lifetime of experiences."
Matthew said of his brother: "He was amazingly important. Gazz was so incredibly patient. The poor old fella almost put his shoulder out bowling to me.
"When he got married and moved north it took me a year to re-establish and reinvent myself. He has a sports science degree and that really helped my preparation."
Hayden also paid tribute to his emotional rock, wife Kellie, who once surprised him by secretly flying to London to offer him support a day before his career saving century at The Oval in 2005.
They met at the Gabba dogs 16 years ago and their romance started soon after the 1993 Ashes tour.
Kellie, who will be missed among the cricket wives for the maturity and good grace she brought to their rollercoaster lives, said she felt she was "taking every breath" with Matthew when he fought for his career and ultimately established himself on the 2001 tour of India.
"I remember watching from my lounge room when he was batting in India and I knew how hard he had worked and how he was out of the team if he didn't score runs," she said.
"It is an amazing place to be when you are doing well but I know how lonely it can be when you are walking off."
- News Ltd.
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Family affair: Matthew Hayden with (from left) brother Gary, Mum Moya, father Lawrie, after announcing his retirement from international cricket.
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