Ah, Matthew Hayden, you mad old robot, you... At some point since you last walked from the crease, that big iron face of yours screwed into its familiar emoticon of furious bafflement that the oppo have had the wherewithal to dismiss the great Haydos; since the Baggy Green lid was prized off for the final time, something has happened, and it is not something expected, or something good...
A virus has been imported, the Haydos hard drive has been wiped and replaced by a Trojan Horse. The mouth that once opened only to emit variations of the phrase 'fuck off' from first slip has been reprogrammed by a mid-90s management guru. He is now the proprietor of something called The Hayden Way.
'As I encompass my core philosophies, it is with the creation of The Hayden Way...' the Bot said. 'we have been developing projects to engage people on a multitude of levels. Through branded media, bespoke events, community projects, education and activities that encourage everyone to enjoy the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.'
A tour of its website reveals The Hayden Way to be nothing more sinister than an optimistic mish-mash of college-course brand-building, corporate pluggery ['Jet! Matthew Hayden's Number One airline choice!'] and reality TV shows starring Matthew Hayden.
Yet, as any Hollywood movie about rogue computerised life-forms will tell you, there is a grand scheme behind the rebranding of the Haydos robot. The Hayden Way wants to own a slice of something that it - and no doubt soon the rest of mankind - is calling 'crictainment'.
'Crictainment' is a revolutionary compounding of 'cricket' and 'entertainment' that involves privately-owned big city franchise teams playing each other in an annual T20 competition. But before you start, this one's in Australia. Hayden is the first investor in Brisbane Heat, a team for which he will also play.
'I have had little interest in the T20 format domestically whilst it remained a state based format, which to me, was a pathway or development program to National interests. A system, I hasten to add, that I received the benefit of as a player,' the Bot went on.
'But an eight-team Big Bash League structure – involving separate organisations running these entities with Private Equity stakeholders in the future – has launched the 'Business of Cricket' and relaunched my interest as a highly viable business decision, adding value both to The Hayden Way, and also to me personally on the field.'
A veteran of 103 Tests, the reprogrammed Haydos no longer sees value in series against any teams other than England or India. 'I love the baggy green, I love what it stands for,' he droned. 'However short of the Ashes, and potentially the Indian summer, I've said for a long time that I'm largely un-invested in that particular competition'
So bad luck South Africa, catch you later Sri Lanka. No-one wants to see you beating Australia any more. West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Pakistan... well, wouldn't want to be you guys.
Like the Terminator, The Haydos bot ended its statement by foreshadowing its own destruction: 'John Buchanan said when he was coach of Australia and Queensland that his ideal scenario was to become redundant in that role, and he did that by lifting up the younger players into the more iconic positions. I think I can add that value to the dressing room as well.'
In other words.... Er Matty... fuck off, mate.
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