Sehwag, Hayward face-off may prove interesting

Published: Friday, November 16, 2001, 1:24 [IST]
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Port Elizabeth: The face-off between South African pace demon Mornantau Hayward and India's Virendra Sehwag promises to provide an exciting fare as the two indulged in some good-humoured off-field sledging on the eve of the second cricket Test here today. Test debutant Sehwag, who scored a strokeful century in the first Test at Bloemfontein, had rated Hayward a poor second to Australia's champion paceman Glenn McGrath in a recent interview which left the Eastern Province express hissing in anger. "I love it when a youngster has a mouth like this," said Hayward, a fast bowling tornado who regularly touches 150 kmph and is currently rated alongside Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan and Brett Lee of Australia among the fastest bowlers in the world. In his 105-run knock at Bloemfontein, Sehwag faced 38 deliveries from Hayward and scored only 17 runs. Importantly, 33 of these deliveries were dot balls with one racing to the third man while the remaining four were belted for boundaries past the off side cordon. Hayward has taken exception to Sehwag's seemingly harmless remark in which he has praised Glenn McGrath for his pace, control and movement while describing Hayward as an out-and-out fast bowler with little variation. "He is the fastest bowler I have ever faced in my life," Sehwag had said on Hayward in a recent interview. "But McGrath is a different fast bowler altogether." Hayward, stung by the comparison, retorted, "Sehwag must remember I have a ball and I can do a lot worse damage with that." The colourful Hayward, who regularly wears a beaded band around his neck "for good luck and charm" also said he did not think much of Indian batting, Sehwag included. "I would say I only rate two Indians as top class batsmen and they are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid," said Hayward, who scalped four frontline Indian wickets in the Bloemfontein match. Hayward then chose to speak about the chances Dravid and V V S Laxman had if they decided to open the Indian innings in the second Test. "In my view Dravid should not open," said Hayward. "As for Laxman, he plays and misses too much to be a quality opener." Hayward, who comes from a small town Uitenhage in the Eastern Province, a town known for assembling big branded cars, said he could not wait for the second Test to unroll. "I can't wait for the Test to start. It is green and it is lively and I would love to have a bowl on it," commented Hayward wryly. Hayward, unlike the Indians, hasn't been sitting idle. "I took part in a club game and my returns were alright...I had 8 for 30." The bowler said he has never felt the need to cut down on his pace in a bid to gain more variation in his deliveries. "I have never felt the need for it. If I can beat the batsmen with pace why should I try to swing it?"
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