Hayden snubs ‘prime’ Dhoni for WC winner, reveals most ‘entertaining sledger’ | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Matthew Hayden snubs 'prime' MS Dhoni for Aussie WC-winner, namedrops ex-India star as most ‘entertaining sledger’

By, New Delhi
Dec 12, 2023 06:55 AM IST

During a candid chat, Matthew Hayden answered a few interesting questions about CSK captain MS Dhoni. He also revealed the ‘most entertaining sledger’.

Legendary Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden shared an intense rivalry with his Indian counterparts whenever Australia squared off against Team India in the early 2000s. Averaging 109.80, Hayden smashed 549 runs when Australia toured India back in 2001. Two years later, Hayden was an integral part of the Australian side that defeated Sourav Ganguly's Team India in the 2003 ICC World Cup final. However, the same Australian icon enjoyed a decent fan following in India when MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK) acquired his services for the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Hayden answered a few interesting questions about Dhoni(ANI)
Hayden answered a few interesting questions about Dhoni(ANI)

Remember when Hayden's mongoose bat became an eye candy for the IPL faithful? The legendary Australian opener was told not to use the special willow by Dhoni during the cash-rich league. Though Thala Dhoni was never a big fan of the mongoose bat, Hayden still opted to showcase his explosive batting style with the willow in the world's richest cricket league. Hayden made his IPL debut for CSK against Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in 2008. The Aussie batter recorded his final IPL appearance for CSK in the 2010 season against record-time winners Mumbai Indians.

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‘MS Dhoni is pretty unflappable but…’

Recalling his IPL days while speaking to ESPNcricinfo, former CSK star Hayden answered a few interesting questions involving the talismanic leader of the Yellow Brigade. During the freewheeling conversation, Hayden revealed what irritates Dhoni the most when he is on the field. "MS Dhoni is pretty unflappable it must be said but if you really wanna give him the shivers. Just have a slack fielding effort. Don't contribute in the field and that's one of the few times you would look at him and go 'ooh that's not gonna be good'," Hayden said.

Hayden picks the most ‘entertaining sledger’

When asked who would win a 100-metre race between prime Dhoni and prime Mike Hussey, Hayden backed his former Australian teammate to upstage the ex-India skipper in the sprint. Interestingly, Hayden also branded legendary Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh as the most entertaining sledger he played with or against. "I always loved the battle with Harbhajan Singh, he was a beauty," Hayden added.

Both Hayden and Harbhajan have played for Dhoni's CSK in the cash-rich league. Retaining Dhoni as captain, Chennai Super Kings have released England Test skipper Ben Stokes, senior batter Ambati Rayudu and New Zealand star Kyle Jamieson from their squad ahead of the IPL auction. Each IPL side will have a budget of 100 crore at the auction in Dubai on December 19.

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