Melbourne: Australian opener Matthew Hayden has got his timing right in the end by announcing his retirement, the Courier Mail has said.
Hayden"s wonderful career deserves the rousing send-off he will receive before a sell-out crowd at the Gabba today.
To play on in South Africa and try and prove to people he still had it would have been a journey too far and at the age of 37 nothing gets easier for international sportsmen, the paper said.
When Australia"s team of the century was announced in January 2000, Hayden wasn"t even in the Test side and had played a handful of unproductive matches over six frustrating years.
But his Test record gives him the right to be crowned Australia"s greatest opener ahead of team of the century choices Bill Ponsford and Arthur Morris.
He was also by a subtantial margin Queensland"s finest homegrown batsmen, who will leave the game with no regrets.
Hayden"s relentless work ethic gave him a peace of mind to know that he had done everything he had to squeeze the most out of his ability.
His declining results over the past year may suggest he stayed too long, but as one of the game"s finest players he had earned the right to an extended stay.