Queensland and Australian cricket legend Matthew Hayden will join the Brisbane Heat in the inaugural KFC T20 Big Bash League this summer.
The arrangement also incorporates his company The Hayden Way taking an equity position with the Heat, and playing an active role in the business development of the team. It will initially cover the next five years of the BBL.
As part of his decision, he will not seek re-election for the Queensland Cricket Board at its AGM next month, and will step down as a Director of Cricket Australia at the same time. However following his playing commitments for the Heat, he will take up a Board position as a Director of the Brisbane Heat.
“Cricket, like all sports, competes in the entertainment business and as great a game as cricket is, I believe now is the time to start turning up the Heat, offering a competitive proposal to families and fans to engage in three hours of velocity, vibe and impact,’’ Hayden said today.
“T20 brings a new energy to the sporting landscape in a space I refer to as “critainment”. T20 is now at the forefront of the development and expansion of our great game, both domestically and internationally,” he said.
“I have had little interest in the T20 format domestically whilst it remained a state based format, which to me, was a pathway or development program to National interests. A system, I hasten to add, that I received the benefit of as a player.
“But an 8-team Big Bash League structure – involving separate organizations running these entities with Private Equity stakeholders in the future – has launched the ‘Business of Cricket’ and relaunched my interest as a highly viable business decision, adding value both to The Hayden Way, and also to me personally on the field.”
“T20 is a great fit for the recreation, leisure and lifestyle ethos that I am so passionate about and the prospect of Brisbane families getting together to go out and enjoy exciting entertainment on a sensational summer evening at the Gabba is right on the mark.
“ I am excited about being a part of the Heat and the first ever Big Bash League, and I will be doing my utmost to make the Heat a success both on and off the field.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back into top form and working with Darren (Lehmann) and the Brisbane players. December can’t come soon enough.”
Heat coach Darren Lehmann is thrilled to have his former Test and ODI teammate in the team.
“I took no time at all to say yes when the possibility of Matt playing for us was first floated,’’ Lehmann said.
“The man is a legend of our game and brings so much to any team he plays for, whether that’s on the field, in the dressing-room, in the boardroom or away from the field with the fans . . . it is just outstanding,’’ he said.
Hayden, who retired from Test cricket in 2008-09, played in the Indian Premier League with the Chennai Super Kings in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was the leading runs-scorer in the competition in 2009 when he scored 572 runs at an average of 52 with a strike-rate of 144.81.
At the time of his retirement from first class cricket on 13 January 2009, he had plundered 8625 Test runs at an average of 50.73, including 30 centuries.
He played 103 Tests for his country and also notched 101 first class matches for Queensland to be part of the exclusive 100 club, averaging 54.85 and scoring 27 centuries for his State.
Hayden currently holds the record for the highest scores made by an Australian batsman in the Test, 380 against Zimbabwe at the WACA in 2003-04.
He previously also had the record for the highest score made by an Australian in One Day International (181*) which was broken by Shane Watson (185*) in 2011.
Brisbane Heat’s confirmed 14 recruits to date are
- Ryan Broad
- Nick Buchanan
- Daniel Christian
- Ben Cutting
- Peter Forrest
- Ryan Harris
- Nathan Hauritz
- Matthew Hayden
- James Hopes
- Chris Lynn
- Brendon McCullum (international)
- Michael Neser
- Chris Swan
- Daniel Vettori (international)
Lehmann said the Heat would keep four spots open on the roster leading into the tournament starting on 16 December.
“There are some exciting initiatives we are bedding down at the moment so we’re comfortable about leaving some spots free to be filled at a later date. I’m delighted with the way the squad has come together so far,’’ he said.