Michael Clarke has matured in the Australian set-up: Matthew Hayden

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden feels Michael Clarke unlike many other players has grown in the Australian set up Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 5, 2012

Free-flowing praise continue to splash Michael Clarke for his unselfish declaration against India in the Sydney Test, with Matthew Hayden saying that the Australian skipper is a “grown up” player now after going through a lot of changes in his personality.

Hayden, whose own Australian record of 380 runs was under threat from Clarke, said Clarke’s innings showed he has matured as a player.

Clarke had every chance to eclipse Hayden’s record and Brian Lara’s world record of 400, but chose to declare Australia’s first innings while he was unbeaten on 329.

The declaration gives Australian side enough time to bowl India out in the second innings of the match and ensure a win.

“You’ve got this skinny little white fella, who comes from the west, and who had certain sheen about his persona – bright and shiny and bubbly,” Hayden said.

“I think we’ve seen some variation in his personality and that’s just what growing up means. He came into the set-up as a round little 21-year-old in the West Indies tour, full of life, full of spunk, and caught the eye of one Shane Warne. He sort of put a lot of faith in behind him, as did the rest of the team.

“It’s been a long time coming. [But] he’s grown up in the set-up, and there’s not a lot of guys do that. They come in, like Ed [Cowan] has, at 29, with a well-rounded, fully developed personality and ready to take on the world,” Hayden was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

Clarke said he did not think of surpassing Sir Don Bradman and Mark Taylor’s highest Test score innings of 334.

“I didn’t think about it (Bradman and Taylor’s record). It wasn’t in my head,” Clarke said after third day’s play. (PTI)