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Rediff.com  » Cricket » I am retiring from cricket, not from life: Hayden

I am retiring from cricket, not from life: Hayden

January 13, 2009 11:51 IST

Transcript of Matthew Hayden's retirement announcement in Brisbane on Tuesday:

"Today I am announcing my retirement from representative cricket effective immediately. This is a decision that I have not taken lightly and I am here after much thought, consideration and discussion with my family and close friends. It is ultimately my decision and I know that now is the time to move on to the next stage of my life and career.

I have spent the last 17 years doing something I love and that has been playing cricket for my country. I've lived the dream of every kid who ever picked up a cricket bat or ball and wanted to wear the Baggy Green. I have loved every minute that I have represented Australia and Queensland and it is a privilege and honour that I will always appreciate and remember fondly.

Importantly for me, today I am retiring from cricket, not from life.

There is still so much that I want to achieve and contribute to the community.

Importantly for me, I want to use the time now to explore my other passions of fishing, boating, cooking and the outdoors.

While I do not wish to talk about it in detail today, I see the next part of my life helping Australian families and kids reconnect with our great country by simply taking the time to get outside.

I am excited by this opportunity and it is something I have been waiting to get my teeth into for some time.

I have no intention on turning my back on our great game, a game which has given me so much joy. Rather I would love to focus on some key areas.

I share the dream with Cricket Australia, the Federal Government, the honourable Kevin Rudd and Jenny Macklin, the Federal Minister for Indigenous and Multicultural Affairs, and the Macquarie Bank Sports Foundation in creating greater opportunities within indigenous cricket communities throughout Australia in their quest to find our next indigenous Australian cricketer to don the Baggy Green.

I will continue to work closely with Glenn McGrath and Tracy Bevan and the McGrath Foundation as we continue to build Jane's legacy.

The last Test in Sydney was testament to the fact that the cricketing community can make a real contribution to this and other great causes. As Glenn mentioned, we are proud to be apart of the enormous Australian Spirit.

I am very honoured to be an ambassador for the Macquarie Bank Sports Foundation which continues to generate countless opportunities for the youth of our great country.

Finally within cricket we are all very proud of our achievements at the Australian Cricketers' Association. There is never a more important time as we enter the next stage of our MOU negotiations with Cricket Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have been with me on this journey to date.

The greatest gift of an international athlete is the value in relationships one acquires on the journey. To my team mates with whom I have shared this exciting part of my life, I want to say thank you for your support and friendship.  We have all relished in the opportunity to play in one of the iconic eras of Australian Cricket and as brothers of the Baggy Green it is our calling to ensure our cricket remains strong.

To James Sutherland and his team at Cricket Australia, I want to thank you for the opportunity you've provided me to represent my country. It has been an honour.

To Graham Dixon and his staff at Queensland Cricket thank you for your amazing support in nurturing all matters on the home front. Your patience, understanding and progressive thinking have been inspirational.

Other special mentions go out to Valley's District Cricket Club, Greenmount Cricket Club, Hampshire Cricket Club, Northampton Cricket Club and the Chennai Super Kings Clubhouse. The way all the grassroots has nurtured my progress is truly humbling.

To my brand partners who have been through the highs and lows of a sporting journey, thank you. Their support and friendship has been overwhelming.

To the public and fans who have always supported me, your messages, banners and calls from the stands have always been an inspiration to me and I want to assure you that your support has been vital in my success and enjoyment of the game.

Most importantly, I want to take this time to thank my whole family for their support and unwavering love while I pursued the dream of representing my country.

I want to specifically thank my wife, Kellie. The life of a cricketer's wife in particular with three small children is a tough one. You have remained a tower of strength, making me feel, in spite of the glaring challenges the road sometimes had ahead, that nothing was impossible. I know and respect your achievement in this period of our life.

To our kids, Grace, Joshua and Thomas -- I can finally put my suitcase away, I love you all.

I see today as the end of my cricket career, as well as the start of a new one.

I have loved playing cricket and I count it as a great honour to have represented my country and state. I will never forget the experiences of the last 20 years as a professional cricketer and I am looking forward to the next stage of my life and career.

Thank you."