I’d Call Him A B-grade Actor: Matthew Hayden Reveals He Used To Sledge Shoaib Akhtar
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I’d Call Him A B-grade Actor: Matthew Hayden Reveals He Used To Sledge Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar and Matthew Hayden
Shoaib Akhtar and Matthew Hayden. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden has revealed he used Umpire Venkat — to sledge Shoaib Akhtar in 2002 Sharjah Test. The Australian cricket team was the most dominant force in the cricketing world in the early 2000s, they were infamous for their way of sledging. They used tricks to get into their rival’s skin and play mind games with them.

Matthew Hayden was one of the most fearless batsmen whom the bowlers feared to face. He had a strong match-winning intent in him.

Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistani pacer who was one of the fastest bowlers was very short-tempered. When these two faced each other a sledging contest was assured. Matthew Hayden would sledge him to get in his mind and make him furious thus resulting in him losing focus on the game.

Hayden has a blast shopping on Chennai streets
Image Credits: Google

I’d Call Him A‘B-Grade Actor’: Matthew Hayden on Shoaib Akhtar

The southpaw – Matthew Hayden recently recalled his experience of sledging his Pakistan counterpart – Shoaib Akhtar. The speedster would try to counter him but would get back more insults.

“Someone like Akhtar for example, I’d call him ‘B-grade actor’ for a start, which used to get under his skin a bit,We were playing in Sharjah and it was 58 degrees out in the middle and Akhtar, when we walked out, said, ‘I’m going to kill you today’ in a whole lot more colourful language. And I said, ‘Mate, that’s terrific, you know I’m looking forward to that challenge’ in a lot more colourful language,” Hayden said on The Grade Cricketer podcast.

Shoaib Akhtar, Matthew Hayden
Shoaib Akhtar and Matthew Hayden. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“So I said, ‘But here’s the thing, Dumbo. You’ve got 18 balls to do it. You’ve got three overs because you’re going to turn into a marshmallow that’s been left on the plane too long and is going to be dripping down and I’m going to be the one at the other end of those 18 balls that’s going to be mopping it up.”’

Matthew Hayden Revealed How He Used Umpire Venkat To Sledge Shoaib Akhtar:

The Australians were so good at sledging they had their own unique ways. Matthew Hayden revealed one such incident where he used Umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan in getting under Akhtar’s skin.

“I go right, how can I get Shoaib looking like an absolute goose and how can I tell Venkat about this? Now India and Pakistan, there’s no love lost there, so I though that’s my point . So as Shoaib’s running in to bowl and he’s cursing every profanity under the sun at me, I get to his bowling mark as I’m counting down his balls from one to 18. He gets to his delivery stride and I pull out. He runs at me going, ‘What’s the problem?’

“I said, ‘I’ve got a problem’. I storm up to Venkat and say, ‘I give everything on the game, I deserve everything I get, but within the protocols and etiquette of the game, surely you can’t be running in and abusing someone’. I think the only way that Shoaib is going to get me out here, is bowled — because Venkat’s definitely not going to give me LBW and I’m not going to get caught behind because this thing (the pitch) was an absolute Bunsen burner. It wasn’t bouncing more than a centimetre,” Hayden said.

I’d Call Him A B-grade Actor: Matthew Hayden Reveals He Used To Sledge Shoaib Akhtar 1
Matthew Hayden. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

“So all I had to do was stand my ground and that was it. He got through his 18 balls and he collapsed at the end of it. And of course I take the opportunity to get my gloves I didn’t need and just go up to Shoaib and said, ‘You want to go off, don’t you?’. And he says no. And I say, ‘Mate, come on. There’s no heroes in Test cricket. David Boon once said that to me. It’s hot and I know you’re busted. Just go off, I promise I won’t think any worse of you’.

“Anyway, he called old mate on and he’s gone off and he didn’t participate in the rest of the Test match,” Hayden concluded.

Australia won the match by an innings and 198 runs while Hayden scored a century. Australia’s 2003 and 2007 World Cup wins had a big role of Matthew Hayden to play, who was just unstoppable in the tournament. He made his name into the greats of cricket being one of a kind.

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