Hayden says his comments meant no disrespect for India

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Sydney, Nov 21 : Defending his "third world country" remark, Australian opener Matthew Hayden has insisted that he meant no disrespect to any nation or its citizens in that category.

Hayden felt that he had been made a victim of "certain sections of humanity (who) want to take someone like myself down."

"The politics of cricket, I think, has gone mad," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Hayden, as saying.

"One of the things I love the most about India, is that you walk around the back of the hotel, and there's a man who's selling peanuts on the street for one cent a month, and he holds his head so high, and is so proud, as if he was making two million dollar a month."

"It frustrates me that certain sections of humanity want to take someone like myself down, who is a really great admirer of the country, and who has really built his career on the back of the country in a very proud and honoured way," Hayden said.

"We've had our competitive spats, but I'm sure that's only enhanced the reputation of India. It's made them play better against me, and I've played better against them. I stand by what I said."

"There is a large portion of India that is third world that is below the poverty line. But from my experience, it is those people who I admire the most," he added.

Senior Indian officials, skipper Mahendra Dhoni and an army of angry bloggers criticised Hayden over the comment, which he used when describing the factors that contributed to Australia's slow over rate during the Border-Gavaskar series.

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