South Africa fearing a resurgent Hayden at Sydney

January 2nd, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 2 (IANS) Matthew Hayden might be struggling, but the burly opener is the only Australian batsman who is feared the most by South Africa. On the eve of third Test starting here Saturday, South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said Hayden is the world’s most intimidating player and Australia needs him for the Ashes.

“We are fearing a resurgent Matthew Hayden here. Hayden is a legend of the game. I know he is a fighter and it looks like his Test career is on the line,” Arthur was quoted as saying by The Australian.

Hayden has had a poor summer of just 79 runs from seven innings, but he has proved his critics wrong before.

Arthur said Hayden and Proteas skipper Graeme Smith had the “most presence” in world cricket.

“When they play well, the others follow. We are expecting Matthew Hayden to come out fighting,” he said. “Our ability to keep Hayden under pressure has given us the ability to win two games out of two.”

Hayden maintained that he had not considered retirement but didn’t guarantee that whether the SCG Test would not be his swan song.

“I’m not sure going after you lose a series, in the middle of the series, would be the right time to go. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. So, no, I didn’t think about it for a minute,” Hayden said

Despite Hayden’s disappointing series, Arthur says the opener is the man who could save Australian cricket with a momentous fight for the Ashes looming.

“You need his experience for a series like that, especially if you are bringing in a couple of new guys. You need experienced hands and Hayden is one of those experienced hands,” Arthur said.

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