Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh today lashed out at Mathew Hayden terming him the “biggest chicken hearted cricketer” he has ever seen and said the Australian’s remarks against him for missing the Nagpur Test were “a lot of crap” to sell his book.

“I don’t know what these Australian cricketers are up to? Even Ricky Ponting wrote a lot of crap to sell his book and now this guy Hayden is doing so,” Harbhajan fumed while giving his reaction to PTI.

The former Australian opener in his autobiography “Standing My Ground” had said that erstwhile Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan chickened out after having a look at the bouncy Nagpur strip during Australia’s tour of 2004. He had even expressed his surprise in the manner in which Harbhajan had “food poisoning” on the eve of that Test which Australia won convincingly.

“Who is Mathew Hayden to judge Harbhajan Singh’s calibre? I don’t know what he is smoking these days. Probably he was in some kind of trip when he wrote all that rubbish. Should I now give Hayden some money to keep quiet?”

If that wasn’t enough, Harbhajan said that he is still willing to bowl if Hayden has the heart enough to face him.

“This is an open challenge. Whenever and wherever Hayden wants me to bowl at him, I am ready. Does he have the courage to face me? Because, whenever I have seen him bat against me, he always had a petrified look. Just check the record books in case you want to know how many times I have got him out.”

Referring to Hayden’s term of “Greentrackitis”, Harbhajan said, “I have scored half century even in Australian soil. May be Hayden has this habit of conveniently forgetting the achievements of Indian cricketers. At the end of the day, he doesn’t have the qualification to judge the calibre of Indian cricketers.”

Sourav Ganguly says:

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly also hit back at Matthew Hayden, saying his record on such pitches in Australia would tell a different story.

“I request him (Hayden) to behave like an international player,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly reminded Hayden that he had scored a hundred at Gabba besides playing important roles in India’s wins later.

“He remembered Brisbane in Nagpur. Just want to remind him of my hundred in Brisbane in the first Test. Also since 2003, we have beaten them (Australia) every time in Brisbane.”

“Me and Bhajji have been an important part of the Indian team on all those wins,” he said.

Ganguly, who was the Indian captain, pulled out of the Nagpur Test, citing a leg—muscle injury. The home side was trailing 0-1 in the four-match Test series.

Australia won the Nagpur Test to win their first ever Test series after 35 years. India, however, won the last Test in Mumbai.

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