Ashes Diary: Hayden - missing ingredient in Aussie recipe for success is loyalty

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The Independent Online

So now it's official: not only is Australian cricket in trouble, but the very fabric of Aussie culture, too. Who says? Matthew Hayden, that's who. The square-jawed Queensland opener has attacked the decision by the Australian selectors to dispense with Mitchell Johnson, saying they should have given him more of a fair go. He's also accused them of being downright un-Australian.

"One of the great parts of the Australian cricket team through that period of time that I was playing was that it created a great framework around the concept of loyalty," he said. "In a lot of ways that is the fabric of Australian society. And that is, if you've got a man down, you pick him up, you get each other going. It was just his last Test match really in India where Mitch was basically our star bowler, so [his omission] is disappointing, really."

Hayden, who has developed a second career as a cookery writer since quitting international cricket (his prawn pita pizza is "to die for", Steve Waugh didn't say), knows how tough it can be to get the axe. "I always thought I could play, but when I was dropped a selector was basically telling me that 'you can't play'," Hayden said.

Nonetheless, he expects Johnson to bounce back. "I know it will get the best out of Mitch," he said. "We'll see him back and strong and confident."

Anderson aims for express delivery

Jimmy Anderson is bowling well, isn't he? But it might not just be a desire to win the Ashes spurring him on. The Burnley swing bowler is planning to fly back to the UK at the end of this Test to witness the birth of his first child. His flight is booked for 7 December, the day the match is scheduled to finish – but if he keeps bowling like this, he might be able to bring that forward a day or two.

Ponting in a flap, tweets Vaughan

Michael Vaughan waded into the row between Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting yesterday, claiming the Aussie captain was "ruffled" by the tourists' great start in Adelaide. Vaughan tweeted: "England have got under the skin of Ponting... more good signs that he is ruffled... fantastic day." It remains to be seen, though, if putting Punter in a paddy is actually a good thing. Who was it who said to beware the wounded Aussie cricketer?

Out of order and really out of sorts

Why is Michael Clarke, arguably the best batsman in the Aussie line-up, having such a tough time at the moment? It might have something to do with his switch from No 5 in the order to No 4. He was promoted above Michael Hussey against Pakistan in July but, while the move appears to have worked for "Mr Cricket", it's been disastrous for Clarke: in 60 previous Tests he had an average of 51.47, but in the six Tests since he has averaged just 18.5.

Heart-wrenching stuff for local paper

If you thought yesterday was agonising for the Aussies, wait until you hear what the local press made of proceedings. "It took just 14 minutes to change everything for Ricky Ponting and his men, for England to reach into Australia's ribcage and wrench its heart out," claimed the Herald Sun. Now that really does sound painful.