Melbourne:Embattled Australian opener Matthew Hayden has sought former South African captain Kepler Wessels' advice on when to end his cricket career amid the ever increasing scrutiny of his place in the side.
The 37-year-old big-hitting left-hander developed a close rapport with Wessels during his stint with Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
"He played under me at the Chennai Super Kings and we spent a lot of time together. We had some good chats," said Wessels, who coached the IPL finalists, was quoted as saying by 'The Sunday Telegraph'.
"We talked about his future. When you get to the stage of his career, you always end up talking about what's happening and what you're thinking because I've been through it," he added. Wessels said Hayden, struggling for form this season, was going through an uncertain phase but seemed eager to continue as long as his fitness allowed.
"The impression I got was that he was still pretty keen, he still wanted to play. He wasn't entirely sure how long he wanted to go, but he felt the end of the Ashes was his goal," he revealed.
"I told him he was playing well and working well. I could see he was enjoying it. I said, 'you're a long time retired, so go as long as you can'. Matt was brilliant at Chennai. He worked very hard, he was such a good influence and the fact we made the final had a lot to do with him. His work ethic typified to me that he still loves the game," he added.
Meanwhile, Hayden's former teammate Michael Slater also jumped to his defence and said instead of being critical, people should just enjoy whatever is left of the opener's brilliant career.
"I find it amazing how everyone is turning on one of our great players. Shouldn't we be enjoying him while we can and hoping he stays for as long as possible? I don't think the Australian team is ready to see the back of Matthew Hayden," Slater said.
"There shouldn't be this constant talk about who should replace him. He needs everyone's support and he deserves that... He just needs time to get over this little bump.
"He's probably over-trying and tensing up because of all the attention on him but the strength he's shown all the way through his career, I think and hope we will still see him in the Ashes. That would be a fitting end for him. No one should forget he is one of our greats," he added.