Hayden is not a fading force: Harbhajan

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Sydney, Oct 26 (UNI) Harbhajan Singh and Matthew Hayden, whose relationship had reached the pinnacle of acrimony, seemed to have buried the hatchet since the last summer's Sydney Test, as the Indian off-spinner described Australian opener as a class player and said the left-handed batsman was not a fading force.

''He is a class player and I have great respect for him as a batsman. We will both have good days and bad days and it is just a matter of time for him,'' Harbhajan was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Harbhajan has dismissed Hayden for the eighth time in the recently concluded Mohali Test in which India registerd a massive 320-run victory over the Australians.

However, the Turbanoter feels that the left-handed batsman is a proven player and offie was wary of the influence Hayden can exert as Australia try to level the series in the third Test in Delhi, starting October 29.

''We don't want him to get going because when he gets a score we know he can get big runs, so it is important we get early wickets. He is a proven player who performs in every series for Australia,'' he said.

Hayden is struggling to recover his powers of domination in India, the country where he became a force against spin bowling in 2001 and has a superb average of 60.

Harbhajan and Hayden have a colourful history, and their relationship deteriorated last summer when the Australian described Bhajji as an ''obnoxious little weed.'' The 28-year-old right-arm bowler said while the pair remained fierce competitors on the field, they had repaired their relationship off it.

''It has been great. We met up during the IPL and from then on we have been two normal cricketers,'' Harbhajan said.


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