Hayden digs in to tell his story


Gideon Haigh’s authoritative reporting of England’s Ashes triumph -- due out later this month -- is not the only sports title in Aurum Press’s spring catalogue.
Cricket fans can also look forward to the publication in England of the fearsome Australian batsman Matthew Hayden’s autobiography, Standing My Ground, which hit the bookstands Down Under last year.  Hayden’s retirement two years ago has been an important factor in the end of Australia’s dominance of international cricket.
Hayden has been a controversial character, known almost as much for his unrelenting sledging from the crease or the slips.  His batting, which enabled him at his peak to take Brian Lara’s record for the highest Test score (before the West Indies star claimed it back), won him many admirers, but his character meant many cricket fans counted him among the players they most loathed.
The Queenslander opens up to Sydney Herald-Sun cricket writer Robert Craddock, who ghosted for him, and is much more frank than some of his contemporaries about the tensions and differences within the Australian camp, particularly during the 2005 series in England.  He also insists that by his behaviour on the field, which has always seemed a contradiction to his rather more gentle manner away from cricket, he was merely fulfilling his role in the team, part of which was to get under the skin of opponents.
Standing My Ground: The Autobiography of Matthew Hayden has an April publication date here.  The following month, Aurum offers the latest in a growing library of Daily Telegraph books, edited by that newspaper’s former assistant sports editor, Martin Smith.
'Old Dobber' Bedser
Cricket Letters to The Daily Telegraph brings together for the first time the best contributions to the letters page of the traditional cricket follower’s journal of choice, spanning subjects that range from Bodyline to helmets, and from swing bowling to sunglasses.
One gem amongst them is a charming but devastating put-down of Telegraph cricket analyst Simon Hughes from the former England bowler Sir Alec Bedser, whom Hughes had somewhat rashly described, along with Derek Shackleton, who took more than 100 first-class wickets in 20 consecutive seasons, as “an old dobber”.
Bedser, who took 236 wickets in 51 Tests for England, pointed out that “one of those old ‘dobbers’ did go to Australia in 1950–51 and took 30 wickets at 16.06 in five Tests.
“In the next series the old ‘dobber’, also against Australia in five Test matches, did take 39 wickets at 17.00 each. A matter of 69 wickets in 10 consecutive games v Australia at less than 17.00 each. From 1950 to 1953 this old ‘dobber’ did take 121 Test wickets in 21 Tests at 18.16 each. Not bad for an old ‘dobber’. Perhaps we might find another one somewhere.”

Click on the links to pre-order from Amazon.

Standing My Ground: The Autobiography of Matthew Haydenwill be published by Aurum Press on April 25.
Cricket Letters to The Daily Telegraph, edited by Martin Smith, is published by Aurum on May 25.

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