Melbourne: Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden concedes that Twenty20 cricket is breeding technically unsound players and has the potential to distract cricketers and administrators but suggests that the format should be embraced for the sake of spectators.
"It is a totally different mind space. We grew up leaving the ball and now it is all about hitting the ball and I think that has changed the way cricket is played. In shield cricket you can see on wickets that are green and seaming that there are not many batters who have a technique that can deal with that," Hayden said.
The left-hander, who was extremely successful in IPL due to his power hitting, said he would have definitely made some adjustments to his game had the T20 been around earlier.
"I would have changed my game if it was around earlier and later I did change my game because I was in a space where the game was changing around me and I became a much better power hitter," he said in an interview.
"I trained differently too. I mean, I used to run around the Gabba when I was 19 and the go was to see how many laps I could do before I fell over. Now it is how fast I can sprint between the wickets, how fast I can recover and then return to that pace and how far I can actually hit the ball."
Hayden, who recently proposed to buy stake in Big Bash franchisee Brisbane Heat, though said the T20 format should not be scorned by the purists.
"Maybe, but maybe we are better off being truthful about it, saying that is all well and good, and even though we are producing batsmen who have a problem leaving the ball, maybe we are better off.”
"I don`t disagree that there is the potential to distract cricketers and administrators. However, this is not about players and administrators, this is about what our fans want to engage with, and if they are actually saying we want to engage with that form of the game, then I am going to embrace that and with the positions I have always had, I have had to embrace that.”
"It is about mum, dad and family coming to the cricket, feeling safe, having a great experience, leaving the game excited, picking up a cricket bat and participating in the game and if that happens to be Twenty20 cricket that is fine.”
It will definitely be Test cricket as well because certain kids will focus on that."