Melbourne: Former Australia opening batsman Matthew Hayden is set to return to competitive cricket at 39 as a player for Brisbane Heat T20 side in the expanded Big Bash League Twenty20 next season.
Hayden is set to sign a deal with Brisbane Heat to be part of the eight-team, city-based Twenty20 competition and the partnership could stretch even further because he is considering purchasing a share of the franchise, according to a report in Courier Mail.
If Hayden decides to play, he would be forced to relinquish his directorships of Queensland Cricket and Cricket Australia boards because current players are not allowed to be directors of either body.
He last played competitive cricket for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League last year.
Since retirement, Hayden has established The Hayden Way, a company which promotes leisure, lifestyle and the benefits of active living. Executive director Geoffrey Schukraft said Hayden's possible comeback fitted neatly with the virtues promoted by the company.
"Matthew has said for some time that he sees Twenty20 and franchise cricket as the future of the game. This project promotes a lot of things that The Hayden Way is all about, such as healthy lifestyles and families getting outside and having fun. If we can clinch a deal he would be a terrific ambassador for the competition. The fans would love it," Schukraft was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Brisbane Heat general manager Andrew Blucher said Hayden's signing would be a watershed moment for the team and the competition, giving both injections of credibility important for new projects.
The Heats, under coach Darren Lehmann, have signed a balanced squad consisting primarily of Queensland-based talent but bolstered by strong recruits such as New Zealand's Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum.