Hayden relishes battle with volatile Indian paceman
AUSTRALIAN opener Matthew Hayden has welcomed India’s foray into the fight club of international cricket where gladiatorial aggression rules and the weak perish.
The simmering battle between Hayden and volatile Indian quick Shanthakumaran Sreesanth could escalate today, weather permitting.
Sreesanth has vowed to break Australia with a five-wicket haul in the second Future Cup clash in Kochi.
He has announced to the Indian media that he respects the Australians “outside the ground, not inside”.
Bring it on, says Hayden.
“Aggression is part of the game. It’s something we have been trying to preach to the world about,” Hayden said.
“I am glad to see other countries following Australia’s lead and becoming more aggressive.”
Sreesanth bowled Hayden for the second time in a week in the series opener in Bangalore, but the send-off didn’t rival that given by the seamer in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final in Durban.
“Stares a lot doesn’t he? I don’t really look at that,” Hayden said of Sreesanth. “I just watch the ball.
“It’s something you have to keep backing up.
“This side has been world champion for as long as I can remember.”
Shane Watson’s breakdown triggered a recall for Hayden during the Commonwealth Bank series in January, with the personal backing of Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting.
“It was a tribute to a lot of people; belief obviously with Ricky,” said Hayden, who hit a staggering 658 runs at 73.2 at this year’s World Cup in the West Indies.
That showing played a huge part in his ICC one-day cricketer of the year award.
“He (Ponting) made a bit of a joke of it in the dressingroom the other night. I was ripping him about something and he said, ‘I saved your career anyway, mate. Don’t go too hard’, and it’s a tribute to those guys that there was that belief.”
Behind his tough exterior there’s tremendous humility in Hayden, who is closing in on his 150th one-day international appearance.
“Those kind of marks indicate longevity in the game and it’s flippant to say you are not going to enjoy them,” the 146-game veteran said.