Hayden charged for 'obnoxious weed' comments

Julian Linden,Reuters
Wednesday 27 February 2008 12:19

Australia batsman Matthew Hayden has been charged by his national board after describing Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh as an "obnoxious weed" and challenging teenage fast bowler Ishant Sharma to a fight.

Cricket Australia (CA) ordered Hayden to attend a judicial hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday night to answer a code of conduct charge for publicly denigrating an opponent.

The charges came almost immediately after Indian officials lodged a complaint over Hayden's comments.

"We condemn such comments by the Australian players," the Indian board's chief administrative officer, Ratnakar Shetty, told Reuters.

"Our secretary has already communicated our feelings to Cricket Australia.

"We've advised our players to show restraint, but despite that if such comments are being made it is really unfair.

"CA have said they will look into this and let us hope there is some communication on this."

Hayden launched his extraordinary verbal attack on Harbhajan during an interview with a Brisbane radio station, claiming the Australian players were fed up with the constant complaints from the Indians about their on-field behaviour.

Three Indian players, including Harbhajan and Sharma, have been found guilty of breaching the player's code of conduct but the tourists have accused the Australians of provoking them.


Hayden said his dispute with Harbhajan had been running for years but the reason the Indians were complaining so much on this tour was because "they are losing every game they are playing".

"It's been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan. The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now," Hayden told the radio station.

"His record speaks for itself in cricket. There is a certain line that you can kind of go to and then you know where you push it and he just pushes it all the time.

"That's why he has been charged more than anyone that's ever played in the history of cricket."

Hayden, who was named on Tuesday as Australia's best one-day player for the past 12 months, also took a swipe at Sharma, who was fined 15 percent of his match fee after an ugly exchange with Andrew Symonds at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

"He is just young. I have said to him many times, 'You are 19, take it easy'," Hayden said.

"He is 19, why doesn't he just worry about his bowling for a while?

"I like the idea of actually getting into the ring. I like that, let's bring that one on."

Harbhajan wasted little time in firing back at Hayden, saying the Australian was disliked by most international opponents and his comments were borne out of the frustration the Australians felt at being pushed by an improving Indian team.

"Maybe they realise that they no longer are the undisputed champions of the world. Maybe, they feel the crown is slipping," Harbhajan told the Indian news agency PTI.

"Otherwise, why would a cricket veteran ask a 19-year-old to join him in a ring?

"I don't want it to be a slanging match ... but you only need to speak to international cricketers and international teams to know in what opinion they hold Hayden."

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