Harbhajan will be a threat for us: Hayden


Melbourne : Australian opener Matthew Hayden feels that Harbhajan Singh will be the biggest threat to the Aussies in the four-Test series against India next month.

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Hayden said he has set himself the challenge of dominating Harbhajan, who has been a thorn in the flesh for the Australians.

The veteran said he knows that he would be the off-spinner’s target having done well against India.

“Having played over there and played well over there, I think I’m going to be the obvious target,” Hayden was quoted as saying in the Courier Mail.

“Harbhajan is very competitive, especially in his own environment. He is a big threat to our side, no doubt about that. He’s skilful and has got some weapons in conditions that will really favour him.”

Hayden scored 549 in three Tests during the 2001 visit and has been a regular member of Australia’s Test team since then. In the same series, Harbhajan took 32 wickets in a gripping contest that India won 2-1.

Relations between the sides hit rock bottom eight months ago in Australia when Hayden called Harbhajan an “obnoxious weed”, prompting the Indian spinner to label the Australian opener one of the most reviled men in world cricket.

Hayden has no intention of re-opening old wounds, but is bracing for an Indian onslaught led by Harbhajan.

“My job will be to combat that so for me it’s a battle I am really looking forward to. To be part of the No.1 cricket side in the world is always a big challenge because we are the benchmark. I expect no mercy from the Indians but that’s why I’ll enjoy this series. I’ll be right in the thick of it,” Hayden said.

The imposing left-hander is one of only four players from the 15-man squad with Test experience in India – the others being skipper Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich and Michael Clarke.

“The whole dynamic of the side has changed,” Hayden said.