Mumbai: Explosive Australian opening batsman, Matthew Hayden on Friday said that he enjoyed playing in India as the country has a special place in his heart."Though the conditions here are a bit intense and harsh, I still enjoy playing in the country", Hayden said while speaking informally to the reporters. On his second tour to the country, the muscular Hayden said when he came to India on his first tour in 2001, he had only one thing in his mind--to prove his worth to the Aussie selectors. Hayden virtually cemented his place into the Australian side after he scored consistently against India in 2001.
On his innings of 380 against Zimbabwe recently, where he broke the world record of highest individual score by any batsman held by Brian Lara (375), Hayden said he was lucky to break the record. "I was pretty numb after batting for almost 10 and a half hours. But in the end it was a great feeling and a proud moment for me, my country and my family", the stoutly built Hayden added. Asked whether the team is missing the services of pace trio of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee, who are injured, besides that of Shane Warne who is facing a 12-month ban for taking banned substance, Hayden replied in the affirmative.
"It always hurts when you miss the services of your frontline bowlers. But the newcomers like Brad Williams and Nathan Bracken are also good bowlers and the time will only tell whether they become great bowlers", Hayden added.