Hayden inducted into cricket Hall of Fame
Cricket: Kingaroy's Matthew Hayden becomes one of just 46 players to be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at tonight's Allan Border Medal ceremony in Sydney.
Hayden will join fellow Australian legend David Boon and women's pioneer Betty Wilson as the 2017 inductees, and at Sunday's announcement said he "fell in love with the game listening to a transistor radio on the back of a tractor in a shed on my dad's property".
The towering left-hander will go down as one of the greatest cricketers of all time, following a first-class career that spanned 16 years and netted more than 24,000 runs.
Australian Cricket Hall of Fame chairman Peter King spoke glowingly of Hayden and his fellow inductees, highlighting their contributions to the game not just on the pitch but off it as well.
"(David) Boon and (Matthew) Hayden are among the select group of just 12 players to have played more than 100 Tests for Australia," he said.
"Hayden was an intimidating opening batsman and outstanding slips fieldsman - undoubtedly one of the best players this country has produced.
"His record in both Tests and (One Day Internationals) can be favourably compared with anyone in the history of the game."
Hayden took the opportunity at Sunday's press conference to highlight the growth of the game and said he was honoured to have played in what many considered to be a golden era of Australian cricket.
He retired while the Twenty20 format was still in relative infancy but said he always knew the format would be a success.
"I was always a huge believer even before the Big Bash League that the game was there for the taking," hesaid.
"One of the most memorable innings of the last decade was Ben McDermott's (century for the Hobart Hurricanes against Melbourne Renegades last week).
"It's the people's game and I feel very privileged to be associated with all formats of the game.
"I think all of Australian cricket can be very proud of not only what it's currently achieving but also what it's going to achieve in the future."
Asked if the boy from the South Burnett with his ear glued to a transistor radio had ever dreamed he would one day be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, Hayden stayed his modest self.
"I haven't got a unique story, anyone that reaches any kind of level within sport has to work really hard for it," he said.
"I've had a lot of people that were hard taskmasters, guys that didn't say, 'Mate great job, every thing is fantastic,' and I really appreciated those hard conversations.
"I never believed I was going to be selected on another tour and I remember often having conversations with my wife, Kelly, saying, 'Look, if it doesn't happen then you'll work, I'll work and we'll be happy.'"
But it did work out and as Hayden rattled off names of his former team mates it was clear how humbled he was to join the likes of Sir Donald Bradman and Allan Border in the Hall of Fame.
"I don't have any regrets, that's for sure, it was a free journey of how good I could get over a long period of time, as opposed to thinking it was my right to play for Australia - I never believed that," Hayden said.
"Every one of the guys I played with will at some point stand in front of this microphone being a Hall of Famer.
"I'm just so lucky."