MATTHEW Hayden was one of the most commanding batsmen the game has ever seen - and one of its great enigmas. A devout Catholic and a ruthless on-field sledger. A brutal enforcer and a soft-hearted family man. The Australian record-holder for highest score in Tests and One Day Internationals who was at times troubled by self-doubt and doubters. In Standing My Ground Hayden confronts these contradictions head-on. He talks frankly about the forces that shaped his journey from fringe international to a giant of the game. He dissects Australia's tactic of verbal warfare and his own role as a key aggressor taking us on a privileged tour inside the sporting machine that dominated all comers in a golden age of Australian cricket. This isn't a predictable ball-by-ball account of a stellar career. Instead Hayden delivers characteristically direct assessment of the matches and the people that mattered most. He pays homage to great role models like Allan Border and explains his deep connection to controversial Andrew Symonds but also reveals colourful clashes along the way. He opens up on umpires the media superstitions teammates and opponents with disarming honesty and humour. The country boy from Kingaroy rose to greatness in the cricket world. Here is the superstar batsman the surfer fisherman and chef in a book as bold and powerful as the man himself.