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Hayden target

The proud man that he is, Matthew Hayden is hurt by his unexpected failure on Indian soil and is desperate to do what he does best decimate the bowlers, irrespective of the conditions and circumstances, reports Subhash Rajta.

cricket Updated: Oct 26, 2008 23:34 IST
Subhash Rajta

The proud man that he is, Matthew Hayden is hurt by his unexpected failure on Indian soil and is desperate to do what he does best - decimate the bowlers, irrespective of the conditions and circumstances.

Even as the team returned to the hotel, the strapping Australian opener sweated it out at the Ferozeshah Kotla for close to an hour after the regular practice session, hoping to regain his touch.

"I had an extended session with a view to spending as much time as possible in the middle. I was trying to replicate whatever I need to do over the next few days," said Hayden, sounding optimistic about his return to form. "I am playing well and feel a big score is just around the corner," he said. Given his past record in India, one can't help but share his optimism. He was terrific in 2000-01 and averaged over 100 in the three-Test series; but followed it up with a relatively modest series in 2003-04.

Given the success he has tasted here, the failure (he has scored just 42 runs in two Tests) is surprising. Is he doing something different from what he did in the past? "Well, I don't think I am doing anything different. It's just that things haven't quite come off. I know there are expectations, but I am confident and feel it's just a matter of time that I score," he said.

In the pursuit of success, the left-hander is relying on his normal method — pound the opposition into submission. The manner in which he went after the bowlers in the Mohali second innings may have been interpreted by many as frustration, but Hayden saw method in the madness. "Being aggressive has been the hallmark of my game, and has given me a fair amount of success. So if the conditions allow at Kotla, which I think it should for it looks a beautiful batting wicket, I will follow my instincts and go after the bowlers," said Hayden.

He also tried to make light of Zaheer Khan's success against him, who has dismissed him thrice in the last four innings. "If Zaheer has had some success against me lately, I too have been quite successful against him in the past and he knows that. So it's going to be a good fight between us here onwards," said Hayden.

Surprisingly, he doesn't think too highly of the Indian bowling, which has been nothing short of a revelation. "Well, it's more or less the same it used to be. You have medium pacers for the first 10-15 overs, and then it's back to spin as usual. So nothing exceptional there as such."

Well, that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt for the Indian bowlers have made the Australians jump like a cat on the hot tin roof. That's not easy to ignore, neither in jest, nor in what we call mind games.