Need mental courage to succeed in subcontinent: Hayden

The Hindu caught up with former Australian opener Matthew Hayden, who was in the city to promote the TNPL.

Mathew Hayden


Australia just slumped to its eighth straight defeat in the sub-continent. How do you assess the series so far?

The biggest problem is that our batsmen’s execution against spin bowling has been poor which has been a historical weakness. The other aspect is that we did not make any impact with our spin bowlers. I would have liked to see Adam Zampa play. He did well in the IPL and he should be playing.

Look, Sri Lanka is a hard place to play cricket and you have to take every opportunity that comes your way. I am not sure if the players are tired or mentally preparing for the Australian summer. Once you are behind in the game, it is difficult to stage a comeback.

The only positive has been Mitchell Starc who has shown that he is a world class bowler.

You had a lot of success in that 2001 series here in India. So tell us how you prepared and where the current lot is lacking?

We have sort of moved away from a culture of encouraging players to play county cricket. Two years in Northamptonshire is where I cut my teeth in playing with Graeme Swann and a young Monty Panesar on spinning wickets. It was a terrific development which helped my career. I think to succeed here you need mental courage. On fast wickets it is physical courage with the ball bouncing but here you need to sustain mental pressure with players around your bat always.

Australia is the No.1 side but struggles in spinning conditions. India has a similar problem while playing away from home. Your take on even top sides playing only well at home but struggling abroad?

I think it is disappointing to see that. The best players are the ones who play well away from home. Someone like a Rahul Dravid or V.V.S. Laxman are classic examples. They not only scored big at home but were very successful playing abroad. The key thing is to have a plan and prepare your strategies. You need to have a plan to attack and thrive in the conditions not just survive.

Thoughts on Anil Kumble’s appointment as the coach?

You have Virat Kohli as your captain and you are not going to go wrong with that. Anil Kumble will certainly be a good addition to that team. But I would like to see Dravid somewhere in the mix. He has been your best Test cricketer over a long period of time. He has the mental toughness to deliver good outcomes a bit like Gary Kirsten did for you guys. He is a bloody good cricketer, and more importantly a great person so I would like to see him involved.