One of the greatest openers the game has ever witnessed, Mathew Hayden is currently in India as the brand ambassador of Tamil Nadu Premier League. Hayden, who was the part of the all-conquering Australian team during the first half of the last decade, has expressed his disappointment over the condition of the current Australian team. Speaking to The Times of India, the former swashbuckling opener spoke on various topics ranging from the best batsman in the world, Virat Kohli, why cricket cannot be an Olympic sport and much more.
On the poor performance of Australian team in Sri Lanka:
I have no idea why they can’t play spin. There are never easy conditions in international cricket, but I firmly believe that we should have beaten this Sri Lankan team, even at their home. But they are absolutely shell-shocked by spin. They have a tough tour of India in some time and judging by this form, they will struggle. But they have some outstanding players like Mitchell Starc and I hope they rally behind each other and find a way .
On Mitchell Starc:
He is an incredible pace bowler, on par with the best that I have seen. Some of the deliveries that he bowls are absolutely out of the world. He started off more as a one-day bowler and has just gone from strength to strength.
On who is the best batsman in the world:
It’s top three actually -David Warner, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers. If it’s Test cricket I would go with Warner. He has matured a lot as a Test cricketer, has got unlimited options against pace and dominates spin as well. He is probably one of the fittest guys and that makes him a complete package.
On whether Kohli can emulate Sachin Tendulkar:
You should understand that this country would not have been the same if Sachin had not strode out into the middle for 25 years.
Who would have Virat looked up to? Maybe Dravid or Ganguly or VVS and would have done a great job at that, but Sachin provided a huge impetus to the nation. Virat has made that his own now, but he has the challenge of doing it time in time out in Tests. If he keeps doing it, in seven or eight years, we may call him one of the greatest ever.
On whether Kohli is a better finisher than Tendulkar:
As a finisher, Virat is one of the best ever to have played the game. He has great wrists, fantastic placement sense and most importantly is one of the fittest players. That is the holy trinity that makes a great finisher and Virat owns all three.
On Murali Vijay:
He is so talented and I have no explanation why he is not doing well in T20s and ODIs. Given his talent, he should be dominating all three formats.But yes, as a Test batsman he has been superb -he is determined, doesn’t play fancy shots too early and bides his time and has so many options.
On whether cricket should become an Olympic sport:
I don’t think cricket can be an Olympic sport -it’s a professional sport and it goes against the grain of an Olympic sport just the way tennis is.