Hayden backs Smith on DRS issue

Speaking to Sporstar on Thursday, former Australian opener Matthew Hayden backed Steven Smith on the DRS issue and believed the Australians did not seek instructions from the dressing room on a regular basis.

Hayden congratulated the two Boards for their efforts in putting a lid on the DRS issue.

The big and strong Matthew Hayden was an imposing presence at the crease. In India, the Australian left-hander, dominating the spinners, was a ‘sweeping success’.

The 45-year-old Queenslander’s 8625 runs in 103 Tests at 50.73 reflect his greatness. This opener could demolish attacks.

Speaking to Sporstar on Thursday, Hayden backed Steven Smith on the DRS issue and believed the Australians did not seek instructions from the dressing room on a regular basis.

“I take Smith for his word. I believe what he said. Fifteen seconds is not enough to get a message across and back from the dressing room.”

He looked at his watch, waited for 15 seconds, and said, “Look, it is over so quickly, in no time!”

Keep it on the field

Given the rather volatile nature of the first two Tests, Hayden said things spoken on the field should stay in the arena. “Once you take it outside the playing arena, then the media gets involved, the Boards come into the picture, everything gets magnified.”

Hayden himself had this reputation of being someone who sledged. On the issue of sledging that has dominated the series, Hayden noted, “All teams sledge. And if you ask me, verbal sledging is only 10 per cent of the total package. Just look at a scenario where the batsman is under no pressure. Whatever words you say to him would hardly matter to him. He would just ignore them.”

Hayden added, “Unless you create the stress, this includes the way you go about things on the field, how aggressive your body language is, verbal sledging has little value. Some people might disagree with me but I can tell you from my experience that this is true.”

Praise for the Boards

He congratulated the two Boards for their efforts in putting a lid on the issue. “I think the two Boards acted well to nip the issue in the bud. The ICC and the match-referee too handled the matter capably. And we could see the effect of that today, there were no incidents here.”

Hayden came under scrutiny too in the ill-tempered Monkeygate series down under in 2007-08. He said, “That series in 2008 actually brought the two Boards, India and Australia, closer. There is a lot more trust between them now.”

The opener felt the rivalry between the Indian and the Australian teams was a natural one. “There is intense competition out there. India is the No. 1 Test team and Australia is No. 2. India wants to remain at the top while Australia wants to get there.”

Difficult to compare

Asked to compare Harbhajan Singh with R. Ashwin, Hayden said, “It’s hard to do that. Their styles are different, their methods are different. Today, batsmen are more expansive, spinners tend to bowl flatter. I would not rate one over the other.”

He appreciated Smith’s batsmanship. “His technique is very different from a lot of others. But his record is remarkable at home and overseas, in different conditions and situations. And he can change the tempo well. At the end of the day, only the runs matter. And he is making a lot of them as captain.”

S. Sriram, Hayden felt, had added value to the Australian team as the spin bowling coach. “He has expertise and knowledge of the local conditions that is always welcome.”