I’d call him ‘B-grade actor’: Hayden to Akhtar
The duel between Shoaib Akhtar and Matthew Hayden on the cricket field was worth watching. Hayden, the Australian opener, responded well to Pakistan’s Shoaib’s storm with the bat.
Their fight was going on not only in field but also outside the field. In a Test in Sharjah, the former Australian batsman called Shoaib a second-order actor. Hayden recently spoke to the Australian media about the issue.
Pakistan and Australia met in the 2002 Test series in Sharjah. In the second Test of the series, Pakistan surrendered helplessly to Australia. They lost by an innings and 198 runs. Pakistan scored 59 and 53 in two innings. Hayden was the man of the match in that Test by scoring a century. In that match, Shoaib sledged Hayden in various ways to distract him.
Hayden recalls what happened to Shoaib on the field 18 years ago. “Someone like Akhtar for example, I’d call him ‘B-grade actor’ for a start, which used to get under his skin a bit,” Hayden said on The Grade Cricketer podcast.
“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.
“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’.”
Hayden did not stop answering Akhtar’s words that day, but also complained to the on-duty Indian umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. The umpire warned Shoaib in this regard. “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 (of leverage),” Hayden said.
“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’.”
Hayden scored 119 off 255 balls in that match. Shoaib could not take his wicket. Shoaib bowled 14 overs of 92.1 overs in Australia’s innings. He took 1 wicket with 42 runs.