After playing 103 Tests, can speak on game’s betterment: Matthew Hayden

Mumbai: Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden on Tuesday hit back at India team director Ravi Shastri’s swipe at Australian critics of the spin-friendly pitch prepared for the recent Nagpur Test, saying that having played 103 Tests for his country, he has the right to speak for the game’s betterment.

Visitors South Africa were bundled out for a paltry 79 runs in their first innings, registering their lowest score after re-entering the international arena after end of apartheid. As many as 20 wickets fell on Day 2 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium and the visitors lost the match by 124 runs and the four-match series 2-0. The fourth and final Test is to be played in New Delhi from December 3.

It was South Africa’s first series defeat on foreign soil in nine years, a period which included 15 trips away from home.

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell described the “minefield” pitch as “diabolical” on Twitter, while Hayden was disappointed to “see the quality of Test cricket reduced to what we are witnessing”.

Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs for India, was unimpressed.

“Let them sit in Australia and talk about their pitches. Tell them not to waste their time about Indian tracks. Come and play here,” je had told ESPNcricinfo.

Hayden took exception to the comments.

“After a 103 Test matches, I deserve a voice and I will have that voice for the betterment of cricket. And there some terrific reactions. For example, Ravi Shastri just said the popular view ‘Go back home and worry about your own pitches’,” Hayden said at an event here.

The 44-year-old said his comments on the current Test pitch was on the basis of loving the sport.

“Non-Indian commenting on the conditions in India and I reckon probably 80 percent said ‘mind your business and go back to Australia and worry about your own country’ which is fair enough.

“But 20 percent of the people that understand the game and have a great passion for the game, a comment like mine whether they like or not is from the base of loving this sport, from the base of loving conditions and also experiencing diverse conditions across the world,” Hayden said.