Its been a while since Australia’s Matthew Hayden went vocal against Harbhajan Singh saying “It’s a racial vilification mate,” during the Racial Row before calling the Turbanator an “obnoxious weed.”
But the Chennai IPL player says the whole world is still excited about Wednesday’s game when Chennai IPL team takes on Mumbai here and brings on a contest between the two players. “Oh! It will be great as always,” Hayden said ahead of the game against Mumbai, for whom Harbhajan is playing.
“I think Harbhajan and I have had such fantastic battles since 2001. Sometimes he won, Sometimes I won. He loves winning for his country as much as I like winning for my team,” Hayden said.
“So, I think its just another game and an opportunity for us to extend that rivalry and I think the whole world is excited about that.”
Quite like Packer era
The Australian opener said cricket will benefit from the T20 format. He also said that the ongoing IPL is quite like the Packer-era that threatened to split the world of cricket.
“I think the game of cricket will greatly benefit from this format of the game. Across the globe, new people are coming to the sport. These days, people love cricket when they see the run feast and high skills of quality athletes.”
“I think what we are seeing is the start of an incredible journey that cricket's going to undertake. It's not going to be dissimilar to the Packer era.”
Aussies leaving early
While most of the Australians will be leaving the IPL for national duty, Hayden said it is not going to affect any of the teams much.
“I think (Albie) Morkel will be joining the team soon and I think he is an incredibly big hitter of the ball. He is a powerful stroke player.
So, I think if one goes, the other will replace him and that's the beauty of this competition.”
Hayden said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has an aura around him and that he is a good captain.
“He is a very fine thinker. He is a confident individual as well. There is always an aura around M.S. (Dhoni).”
Hayden said that he is enjoying sharing the dressing room with Indian players.
“Its very interesting to be on the other side of the fence now. Being in the dressing room with the likes of the Indian players with whom we have been playing for many years is an interesting experience.
“And I am really enjoying this element of the game. I am understanding a little bit more about the way they go about their cricket. I am getting to know their thinking.”
Hayden said that Chennai holds a special place in his heart and that this is the place where he once dreamt of becoming a Test cricketer.
“To me it's a full circle coming here to Madras (Chennai),” Hayden said.
“I started my love affair with India way back in 1997 when I arrived here for the MRF. I remember distinctively about walking around this ground and dreaming of making a Test hundred.
“So, it is special for me to come back here. This is where I want to brace myself up for the next phase of the game — the Twenty20 cricket.”
We will see big scores
When asked to comment on the two hundreds that have been scored in this tournament so far, one by Hussey and the other by McCullum, Hayden said it was quite expected in the IPL. “I think we will all be disappointed if we don’t see high scoring games,” he said.