Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cooking up a Perth world record

There seems to be a food connection to recent posts. Yesterday was about curry, today Ali Cook scored his first tour ton and now England fans are in for a shock - when Matthew Hayden orders in Perth, he scores a bucket load of runs.

Fellow readers of other cricketing blogs will know of Hayden's love affair with food: his two cook books are bestsellers Down Under. There's nothing of the Jack Russell here (eating nothing other than baked beans on tour), Haydos is a serious cook and his recipes dictate this.

In October 2003, Hayden ordered smoked ham and pumpkin soup, now one of his favourite meals, at the team's Perth hotel before Australia's first Test against Zimbabwe at the WACA. The following day Steve Waugh won the toss and Hayden and Langer went into bat. Over ten hours later, the Queenslander had bludgeoned 38 fours and 11 sixes on his way to a world record 380.
The Perth time difference, as mentioned in Line and Length yesterday, was at the forefront of Hayden's peckish decision. He wrote in his first cookbook that he found the dish while searching for "something light" to help him get to grips with the West Australian time. Whether or not he forgot about the recipe is another matter; he hasn't beaten 20 at the WACA in four knocks.
Nevertheless, Hayden's skills off the field haven't gone unnoticed. He has been given the task of choosing the menu for a Steve Waugh Foundation dinner next February.