Host: Matthew Hayden
Seen on: Monday, 10.30 pm, TLC
The last time people in India heard about Matthew Hayden was when he had raised controversial points in his book Standing My Ground. This time, he has chosen to enter our lives through that most beloved of routes: food. Hayden takes viewers on a culinary and heartening journey through his personal life in Home Ground.
Almost too detailed, the six-part series features Hayden turning a new leaf and showing off a hitherto unseen aspect of his life on screen. Not just him, viewers are given entry into his house and family life. His wife Kellie and three children along with his mum form a regular part of the series. Occasionally, an architect who takes up the task of remodelling Hayden’s house is also given precious airtime even though she mostly speaks highly of Hayden. You’re likely to hear things like, “he’s got a very clear mind,” from her more often than anything solid.
She does discuss plans with Hayden though, sitting around the entire family as the cricketer and his wife look through the designs and a computer helpfully drawing the new layout for viewers. The most endearing moment of the show also occurs at this stage when Hayden’s nine-year-old daughter Grace innocently asks, “Will we have turtles once the lake is done?”
Elsewhere, the series shifts focus to Hayden’s cooking skills. Dishes such as Sri Lankan dhal and tandoori chicken and lamb are par for the course. Unbeknownst to many, the Australian cricketer is the author of two popular cookbooks. He tells viewers how he would come in hungry into the kitchen as a child and just “create” recipes without knowing. Hayden then attempts to make chocolate macadamia pudding with the help of his mother who is overtly critical of his culinary skills that creates slight moments of banter between the mother and son.
Home Ground is thus a peek into the life of a person who loves the outdoors and is equally at ease inside the confines of a kitchen. While the show definitely exudes potential, whether it achieves it or not remains debatable. For one, Home Ground looks like it was screened without the help of an editor. Certain portions keep dragging while the viewer increasingly waits for something interesting to happen. Hayden’s connect beyond his cricketing legion is also suspect. Also, the show fails to define itself and meanders between