Cricketing greats back Hayden against CA's 'unjustified action'

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Melbourne, Feb 29 (UNI) Coming out in defence of Matthew Hayden, current and former cricketers have strongly condemned cricket officials after the burly opener was reprimanded for his ''obnoxious little weed'' comment against Harbhajan Singh.

Former Australian speedster Jeff Thomson said Hayden had every right to put forward his point of view and the action taken against him was unjustified.

''I am sick of political correctness. Someone asked Hayden what he thought of Harbhajan and he gave his view. Aren't you allowed to give an opinion any more?'' Thomson said.

Earlier, Hayden himself defended his actions and said he was disapponted by Cricket Australia's stance towards the issue.

''It saddens me that my employer has to discipline me for my behaviour,'' Hayden told the Herald Sun.

''I can see that my comments were insensitive but they were not intended to be denigrating and especially not contrary to the spirit of cricket.

''The cricket environment I have grown up with is probably a little bit different from today.'' South Africa's batting legend Barry Richards claimed the way the whole issue was dealt, cricket looked ''stupid''.

''The way they are going they will be having tea and cucumber sandwiches on the pitch. Test cricket has got to be about some sort of clash,'' Richards said.

''The trouble with all these reportings and hearings is that teams are using them to try and get some ascendancy. It is all about scoring points. This political correctness is just crap,'' he added.

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) too, came in support of the left-handed opener saying, ''The ACA is disappointed that Matthew was charged for expressing a personal opinion about another player,'' ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.

However, there were reports that suggested that CA had caved into pressure from BCCI to take action against Hayden, the one-day player of the year at the Allan Border Medal.

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