A CRICKET-mad youngster raised a few eyebrows at a recent trial – because he shares a name with a top-class Aussie batsman. Nine-year-old Matthew Hayden has been identified by the Hunts Cricket Board as a player with potential, though as much for his spin
A CRICKET-mad youngster raised a few eyebrows at a recent trial - because he shares a name with a top-class Aussie batsman.
Nine-year-old Matthew Hayden has been identified by the Hunts Cricket Board as a player with potential, though as much for his spin bowling as his batting.
Matthew, of Ramsey Mereside, is currently training with Ramsey Cricket Club's under-13s; two age groups above his own category.
Dad Alastair said: "The Australian Matthew Hayden wasn't a big name nine years ago so it wasn't even an issue when we named him.
"Shane Warne is a big hero of Matthew's but there's no question he is an England fan - his walls are plastered with posters of the Ashes victory two years ago.
"He's cricket-mad, he spent his half term either playing cricket or in front of the latest cricket game on the computer."
There was an early clue to Matthew's talent during his education - he attended Ramsey Spinning Infants' School.
Ramsey Cricket Club youth development officer Matt Taylor - not the Portsmouth footballer - said: "When he first came along to training no-one would believe Matthew's surname was Hayden. It wasn't until his dad arrived that we believed it was genuine, but it certainly gives the lads something to have a laugh and a joke about."
The other Matthew Hayden is currently ranked as the sixth best test batsman in the world and the 23rd best one day batsman. He has scored more than 7,500 test runs, has a high score of 380 and bats at an excellent average of 53.00.
Taylor continued: "It is quite unusual for someone Matthew's age to bowl spin because most kids want to be like Freddie Flintoff and bowl pace.
"We are just encouraging what he does naturally and he has good natural technique in both batting and bowling but we are anxious to nurture him as much as possible."
Next up for Matthew is the start of the club cricket season with Ramsey before three games for the Huntingdonshire district in May.
Alastair added: "Although he is definitely an England supporter, Matthew did ask for a green cricket helmet from Hunts County Bats.
"Every summer is a cricketing summer but increasingly Matthew is demanding to go out and play - even in the heavy rain - and it's not the best for the lawn.
"We've got tickets to see England play the West Indies this summer - at Matthew's insistence - and he definitely wants to see Warne play for Hampshire before he retires.