Bangalore, Mar 10: Matthew Hayden and Harbhajan Singh did not enjoy a good relationship when they came face to face on the cricket field. It all began in the 2001 Test series here in India. Recalling that tour Hayden revealed that Harbhajan once questioned the ability of him as a batsman and how he replied to that.
Hayden, who is now retired and is part of the TV commentary team for the ongoing India-Australia four-Test series, spoke to bcci.tv website about the 2001 series.
The left hander had a career-turning series in 2001 as he smashed 549 runs (average 109.80) in four Tests with his maiden double hundred in Chennai in the final Test. India won that historic series 2-1.
Recalling his battles with Harbhajan, Hayden said: "My battles with Harbhajan (Singh) started in a warm-up game. I didn't want to give him any indication of my abilities. So, I had a very defensive game plan and I wanted to see if I could survive against him without revealing my arsenal. He came up to me and politely mentioned just how disappointed he was that a player of my credentials was even considered to play for Australia."
He continued: "I took all that on board and he actually dismissed me that day as well. I think off his second or third ball in the Test, I came down the wicket and hit him with ease over extra-cover and asked him, ‘How's my ability now?' I loved playing against Harbhajan and Anil (Kumble). They're highly competitive individuals and I love to compete - it's my comfort zone, my dal in Indian cuisine, where I can play around and have fun."
The opener said 2001 series in India was a critical point in his career.
"There are moments in everyone's career when you look back and think that it was a critical point in your career. For me it was the 2001 India series. I was either going to be accepted into the Australian cricket team as a permanent member or I was going to go back and play Shield cricket, county cricket and do all the things that I did in the lead up to the series," he told bcci.tv.