'Hayden didn't speak to me for 2-3 years': Uthappa on the 'incredible amount of sledging' during India-Australia games

Updated on May 16, 2021 08:45 PM IST

Robin Uthappa looked back at the series of matches between India and Australia from the year 2007, revealing how there was an incredible amount of sledging going on each time the two times faced each other.

Robin Uthappa and Matthew Hayden had several exchanges during the series of India vs Australia matches in 2007. (Getty Images)
Robin Uthappa and Matthew Hayden had several exchanges during the series of India vs Australia matches in 2007. (Getty Images)
By, New Delhi

Robin Uthappa looked back at the series of matches between India and Australia from the year 2007, revealing how there was an incredible amount of sledging going on each time the two times faced each other. 2007 was the year when India defeat Australia in the semi-final of the inaugural T20 World Cup and later squared off in a one-off T20 series and a seven-match ODI series.

Through the series of matches, Uthappa explained how both teams were constantly having a go at each other, describing how it all began during the crunch semi-final tie – in Durban – of the T20 World Cup in South Africa.

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"The amount of sledging that happened in that game was incredible. I remember people having a go at me and at that time, when they had a go, very few people retaliated. Only Zak bhai (Zaheer Khan) was one of them and a few other fast bowlers. But none of the batsmen gave it back," Uthappa told stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant on his YouTube show 'Wake Up With Sorabh'.

"In that game, Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) gave it back. I gave it back to Andrew Symonds, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin. The toughest one that I encountered in that game was Matthew Hayden. He inspired me as a person and batsman. In fact, my walking shot was picked out of him. I remember Haydos was batting and in that game, he was going at me and that is when I decided, 'Ok, I'm going to give it back'. So when they came to bat, I was giving it. And it got to Haydos at a point, while he was batting.

Uthappa went on, saying how although he had always looked up to Hayden, he responded by saying something to the former Australia opener. The exchange proved to be so brutal, as Uthappa pointed out, that Hayden went without speaking to the India batsman for the next few years.

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"He said something to me which I'm not going to repeat and I said something back to him. He did not speak to me for 2-3 years. He would be very cold-shouldered to me. And it hurt. Because at that point, it was about winning. I wanted to win and make them feel as uncomfortable as possible, and I did that. We won but I missed out on interacting with someone who truly inspired me," said Uthappa.

The trading of barbs did not end there. A week after India had won the T20 World Cup, they beat Australia in a one-off T20I match. In the ODI series however, Australia emerged victorious, taking the series 4-2. But even during those matches, the sledging pretty much continued, with Uthappa calling it 'great' phase of his cricketing career.

"Later that year, when Australia came to play a seven ODI series and a one-off T20Is, even then we were at each other's throats. In a one-day game, MS and they (senior players) would make me stand at silly point just to chew Ricky Ponting's head and stuff like that. It was a great time," Uthappa added.

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