Proteas fear a resurgent Matthew Hayden

January 2nd, 2009 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Jan.2 (ANI): The South African cricket team is anticipating a severe batting backlash from Australian opener Matthew Hayden, who has been knocked over cheaply four times in the ongoing series between the two nations.
Admitting to a fear factor prevailing in the Proteas camp, coach Micky Arthur said knocking Hayden over cheaply in four innings was the key to their historic series win, but added that he still remained essential to Australia’’s Ashes chances and that all teams were wary of what he can do at the top of the innings.
“He’’s a legend of the game, we are fearing a resurgent Matthew Hayden here. I know he trains hard, I know he’’s a fighter, it looks like his Test career could be on the line. I think Australia are going to need him in the Ashes, I think you are going to need all the experience that you can have through a series like that, especially if you are changing the side, especially if you are bringing some new guys in, you need experienced heads. Matthew Hayden is one of those experienced heads, quoted Arthur, as saying.
“An ability to keep Matthew Hayden under pressure has given us opportunity to get two wins out of two, no doubt,” he added.
Captain Ricky Ponting also hopes that his 37-year-old opener can bring his 100-plus Test experience to the squad in South Africa and the Ashes and is annoyed people have questioned his selection for Sydney.
“The criticism has been a bit unfair. He’’s a champion player and has been for a long time. He thoroughly deserves an opportunity to have one more go at it. I still think that if he’’s playing at his best he’’s our best opening batsman. I don”t think there are too many people around who can argue with that, Ponting was quoted, as saying.
“Obviously there are guys in Sheffield Shield cricket who have stepped up this season. Michael Klinger has been terrific for South Australia, Phil Hughes has been very good in NSW, Chris Rogers has done well for Victoria so there are a few guys around throwing their hats into the ring. But if you”re going into big series like we”re in now and we”re playing in South Africa and England this year you don”t want to be taking young and inexperienced guys in, he added.
“I know if Haydos plays well, he”ll stand up for us in South Africa and he”ll stand up for us in England,” Ponting said.
Hayden is refusing to speculate on his long-term future, but clearly wants to be part of the side and wants to contribute his experience (and runs).
“Performances have been average for me and I guess I live and die by the standards that I”ve set over a 15-20 year career,” he said yesterday.
“I understand that I need to get runs but I think there’’s a lot more facets to your game than just pure runs and I think experience in the side does make a difference,” he added.
Hayden said he believed he had a job to do with so many inexperienced players coming in.
“We”ve all been there in the past and we all understand how difficult it is to start playing for Australia and it’’s difficult at the other end when expectations are high, but we carry that on our shoulders,” he said.
“I see over the next five days part of my role - no matter how the result goes for me individually and us collectively - that it’’s very important to bring the level of perspective that a 15-year career can hold in a dressing room.”
Hayden is not thinking any further than his first innings in Sydney and cannot be sure what the future holds.
“Who knows and who wants to project and look too far forward?” he said. “But it’’s very important during these times that we understand that the whole world isn”t caving in, the sun is coming up and we”ve got an amazing Test match in support of the McGrath Foundation here at this beautiful ground, the SCG.
“I”ve always kept it very simple in Test match cricket. I have a certain strategy to go out and play, sometimes that strategy doesn”t work and the result is evident, but I prepare the same way every time.
“I am going to go in with a certain strategy and a clear mind and enjoy whatever result may or may not come my way, but generally speaking over the past 15 years it has gone my way and I am very proud to say that has been an amazing string to our bow and also to Australia and helping them out to be successful.” (ANI)

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