Gilchrist doesn't buy Bhajji's claim

The Australian wicketkeeper says contrary to what Harbhajan said, Hayden is a well-respected figure in the team.

updated: February 28, 2008 15:16 IST
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Harbhajan Singh may consider Matthew Hayden one of the most disliked cricketers around, but retiring wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist disagrees, calling his one-day opening partner "one of the most well-respected people in our team."

Hayden had added fuel to an already explosive tour when he described Harbhajan as an "obnoxious little weed" and challenged young Indian paceman Ishant Sharma to a boxing bout in an interview to 'Brisbane Radio'.

The Indian off-spinner replied by claiming Hayden was one of the most disliked players on the international cricket circuit.

"Who is Matthew Hayden? You only need to speak to international cricketers... to know in what opinion they hold Hayden," Harbhajan had said.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's inconsequential tri-series match against Sri Lanka here, Gilchrist, however, sprung to the defence of his teammate.

"I've not ever cared to think what other teams think of Matthew Hayden. He's one of the most well-respected people in our team, so that's all that interests me."

Harbhajan had also alleged Australian skipper Ricky Ponting abused him during the one-dayer in Adelaide, but Gilchrist dismissed the claims.

But he admitted the controversies during his farewell international season were taking a toll and it was important for the hosts to concentrate on playing good cricket.

The team would like to put in a good performance against the Lankans tomorrow and be in the best possible frame of mind to take on the Indians in the best-of-three tri-series finals starting in Sydney on Sunday.

"Everyone is over it a little bit now. I'm just trying to get on with the finals and play some cricket," Gilchrist said.

"I can't speak on behalf of everyone, particularly on their team, and I haven't spoken to our guys about it, but I'm sure everyone is just keen to let cricket get on," the Aussie wicketkeeper said.

"There's been a lot on, a lot of issues, I haven't played in too many summers where... there's been any number of issues you could bring to mind."