Infatuated Aussies bought copies of Sachin''s bat: Hayden

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) "Bat-obsessed" Australiancricketers were so infatuated with Sachin Tendulkar''s 1998blade which gave Shane Warne nightmares that they bought thecopies of the willow to produce its versions Down Under,former opener Matthew Hayden has revealed.

In his autobiography ''Standing My Ground'', Hayden writesthat Australians "have massive love affairs with their bats"and a special version of Tendulkar''s 1998 blade wasmanufactured at a Brisbane factory.

"In 1998, the Australian team that was crucified in Indiaby Sachin Tendulkar became so infatuated with the littlemaster that at least eight of them brought back copies of hisfamous Vampire bat, and Brisbane firm Gabba Sporting Productseven produced a special version of it," Hayden, who retiredfrom international cricket in 2009, wrote.

"Tendulkar''s extremely heavy bats were way too heavy forme. In fact, they may have even been too heavy for Tendulkartoo. For a time during his career he suffered from an acutecase of tennis elbow, and it was widely thought his heavy batswere partially to blame," he said.

Hayden also revealed his team-mates'' obsession with theirblades, calling Ricky Ponting a "bat sabotager" always tryingto test others'' willows while Mike Hussey "always travels witha set of scales to get the weight of his bat right".

The broad-shouldered opener, who scored 8625 runs from103 Tests, claimed that he has "never been a bat aficionado"but ended up using the unconventional Mongoose bat whileplaying for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

"I have never seen a brand catch fire like that. Indiansare not known for embracing left-field experiments. TheMongoose caused enormous interest among my teammates. Everyonepicked it up and played with it and were all eyes when Itrained with it in the nets.

"Our Chennai captain MS Dhoni was mortified when he firstset his eyes on that Mongoose. ''Are you going to use that?'' heasked me, and when I told him I didn''t know, he said, ''I''llgive you any bat in my bag not to use it.'' When I first pulledit out for a game in IPL I could sense the knives sharpening.

"When I was approached by the Mongoose firm whilecommentating in England in the 2009 Ashes series, I was opento the idea of using a differently shaped bat. I must admit Ifelt a bit anxious, because if I failed, the brand could godown with me. I''ve always thought Twenty20 cricket was aboutentertainment, and that there was room for experiment in manyareas of cricket gear, bats included." .

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