January 17, 2009

Australian cricket

When Hayden met Harbhajan for the first time

George Binoy

Matthew Hayden and Harbhajan Singh have had a few spats and Hayden revealed after his retirement when it all began.

“I loved playing the people who geed me up, tell me I can't do something - that's what he [Harbhajan] told me the first time we met,” Hayden told the Sun-Herald. Australia was playing a practice match and he said, 'I hope you get picked for Australia.' He didn't know, but in that game I was trying to rotate the strike really defensively so I didn't show him any of my key strategies before the Test. I was batting rubbish and he had every right to say what he did. My comeback to him was saying, 'We'll see.' That's all I said.

“First ball he bowled in the Test, I ran down and hit him over the top of mid-off. I said, 'OK, there's my answer.' Because there's a language barrier, I think it may have sounded to him more offensive than it really was. There was always a real tension between us, but I respect what he's done in his career. And in his life, he has looked after his entire family. I respect that.”


George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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