Part II of our interview with Matthew Hayden deals with a topic that everyone’s talking about – the upcoming T20 World Cup. If you missed Part I, do check it out HERE
To begin, we asked Hayden for his predictions on the T20 World Cup. He’s pretty sure that India, Australia and South Africa will make the semi-finals, and his fourth pick is Bangladesh! Check out the entire video below where he explains his picks, as well as couple of ‘dark horse’ picks!
We then move on to Australia’s chances at the World T20. With an explosive batting line-up that has plenty of experience in Indian conditions, most fans would generally expect a strong show from the Aussies. Hayden disagrees though – in fact he even suggests that the Australians (and in particular Ricky Ponting) don’t take the T20 format very seriously! Watch on for more.
Hayden goes one step further – He feels the Australians have never really embraced playing cricket in subcontinental conditions enough. He explains that while a number of Australians have played a fair bit of cricket for their IPL franchises, the IPL is essentially a domestic tournament, and each franchise creates wickets that suits their playing style. The T20 World Cup, on the other hand is an international competition, and the Aussies can expect plenty of turning wickets, because those are conditions that the Indian team thrives in.
Hayden of course had an extremely successful tour of India in 2001 – so he’s best equipped to explain how an Australian can adjust to Indian conditions. He explains how his tour to India was ‘a seven year plan’, and how Alan Border had explained to him in 1993, that he needed to learn how to play in turning conditions. Watch on for more, including how Hayden’s country experience helped him play spin.
We then move on to the role of spin in general – to what extent will it affect this tournament? Hayden is sure that this World Cup will be a ‘spin bowlers’ World Cup’ and it’s the main reason why he’s picking India to do well. He explains that Ashwin and Jadeja can ‘eat up 8 overs in a game’, and that when you add part-timers like Yuvraj and Raina into the mix, it’s a potent combination. Watch as he explains how good spinners can strangle a batting side in Indian conditions.
When the Australian T20 squad was announced, there were two major talking points- the inexperienced bowling attack, and the sheer number of openers that they’d picked. Hayden agrees that the current bowling attack is inexperienced, and that ‘nothing feels solid about the Australian bowling line-up, spin or pace’. As for the openers, Hayden feels that Warner ‘picks himself’, and the other three openers – Finch, Watson and Khawaja will have to jostle for space.
As the topic moves to Aaron Finch, we ask Hayden about the last-minute captaincy switch – from Finch to Steve Smith. Is it a great idea, just one month away from the T20 World Cup? Hayden seems to think Finch should never have been made captain in the first place – as long as Smith was a part of the side. In his own words, ‘there’s really only one dog that can lead a pack’!
Finally, we move on to a common theme – the evolution of T20 cricket in general. Hayden’s been a part of the 2007 Australian T20 team, and played a couple of memorable IPL seasons for Chennai Super Kings. So how much has the game changed since then? Hayden points out that the athletic ability of the players has increased exponentially, and this is particularly evident in the current Indian team – with Jadeja, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.
Hayden then explains that risk awareness and ‘field awareness’ has also changed for the better – allowing batsmen to play shots over fine leg when the field is up. He then explains that the majority of the ‘new shots’ that batsmen play, weren’t in the game as recently as a decade ago! Watch on for a fascinating breakdown of modern batting.
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