Hayden, 36, said Zaheer's behaviour during the second Test in Mohali revealed an unstable temperament which he wanted to exploit in the third Test beginning here on Wednesday.
"There's method behind my madness," Hayden told reporters here.
"Zaheer Khan has been put under pressure a lot by myself and (Adam) Gilchrist in all the tournaments we've played in one-dayers and I've also tried to emulate that when we've played Tests.
"I just feel like he's vulnerable when he's like that. His temperament was revealed the other day by his send-off. He loses consistency and control when he does that."
Zaheer charged by ICC over his comments
Zaheer was docked 80 per cent of his match fee for an angry exchange with Hayden and for pointing him to the pavilion after the batsman had belted four fours in his quickfire knock of 29 before being dismissed by Harbhajan Singh.
"It's something that would be in the back of his mind and I can use that to my advantage," said Hayden who has just 42 runs from four outings in the four-Test series so far.
Hayden said he would adopt the same aggressive approach when he comes out to bat again.
"We saw straight away what happened when I was making those runs in Mohali, there were blokes going in every direction in the outfield."
Hayden, who went through a batting renaissance in India during the 2001 series, has 835 runs from nine Tests there at an average of 49.11.
The burly Queenslander admitted that his team, trailing 1-0 after the 320-run hammering in Mohali, needed him and pace spearhead Brett Lee to fire on all cylinders if they were to catch up with India.
"You've got to have a strong presence from the guys that have been playing for a long time," he said. "It's been no different this series.
"When you look at it, myself and Binga (Lee) do need to play good cricket. We're a vital part of that leadership group."
Hayden said the team was expecting Stuart Clark to be fit for the Delhi Test and share bowling responsibilities with Lee, who has just four wickets from four innings.
"Taller guys who bowl into the wicket as we have seen with (Ishant) Sharma do make a difference and a bit of variation in height and bounce can be effective when you've got height into the wicket," he said.
"So Stuart will be a big plus assuming that he is fit."