Hayden: Harbhajan's a weed
Australia opener hits out at India squad
Last Updated: 27/02/08 7:38am
Happier times? Hayden with Harbhajan in 2001
Australia opener Matthew Hayden has ensured there will be an electric atmosphere for the three-game CB Series final after calling India's Harbhajan Singh an "obnoxious weed" and challenging Ishant Sharma to a fight.
"It's been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan. The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now."
Hayden on Harbhajan Quotes of the week
Relations between Australia and visitors India have been tense throughout the current tour - with a number of flashpoints on and off the field.
And Hayden poured more fuel on the fire ahead of the deciding matches in the CB Series by saying the Aussies were fed up with the constant complaints from the Indians during the tour.
Harbhajan and Sharma are two of the three Indian players found guilty of breaching the player's code of conduct during the Test and one-day series - but the tourists claim it is only because they have been provoked.
However Hayden has hit back, claiming Harbhajan's disciplinary record speaks for itself.
"It's been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan," Hayden told a Brisbane radio station.
"The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now.
"His record speaks for itself in cricket. There is a certain line that you can kind of go to and then you know where you push it and he just pushes it all the time.
"That's why he has been charged more than anyone that's ever played in the history of cricket."
Sharma was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after his exchange with Andrew Symonds at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
And Hayden has insisted that he would settle his differences with the teenage bowler in the boxing ring after failing to get him to calm down on the field.
"He is just young. I have said to him many times, 'You are 19, take it easy'," Hayden said.
"He is 19, why doesn't he just worry about his bowling for a while?
"I like the idea of actually getting into the ring. I like that, let's bring that one."
The Indian cricket board have condemned Hayden's comments - and have contacted Cricket Australia to voice their concerns.
BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty told Reuters: "We condemn such comments by the Australian players.
"Our secretary has already communicated our feelings to Cricket Australia.
"We've advised our players to show restraint, but despite that if such comments are being made it is really unfair.
"CA have said they will look into this and let us hope there is some communication on this."
Indian team manager Bimal Soni added that the players would do their talking on the pitch when the sides meet in the final.
"We want to play cricket... with what Hayden said, our stance is vindicated," Soni said.
"This sort of thing should not happen but we've decided to take it in our stride and want to get on with preparing for the finals."