Ask Matthew Hayden what makes Shane Warne so special and the former Australian opener lets out a smile, scratches his head and says, “He’s got the charm.”
And why is Warne considered among the best leaders? “Because he can spread that charm.” Hayden is sure that it is Warne’s man-managing ability and the huge confidence he has in himself that makes him the successful sportsman he is, just before adding with a grin, “and of course, he spins that ball.”
Hayden’s team will be up against the charmer on Friday at the Centurion, the same ground where Yusuf Pathan pulled off a coup against Team Delhi.
And Hayden definitely knows what it would take to stop the wily bowler from recording a similar feat. “Warnie, Smith, Yusuf…” are the names he comes up with when asked to spell out the dangermen in the Jaipur side. “Oh yes, they’ll be the players to keep in check,” he says.
Team Chennai are depending on Hayden a lot to give them the right kind of start, a fact which Makhaya Ntini, Albie Morkel and even captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni accept.
That’s because, if he is in the right kind of form and mood, Hayden can really pound an attack, especially if the track is a good one for batting.
Ahead of the game against Jaipur though, the hugely-built Aussie can be sure of one thing – Warne, his one-time teammate, will leave no stone unturned to see his back as early as possible.
The wicket, according to both sides, is slower than the normal Centurion track. That being the case, the two leading spinners the game has ever seen —Warne and Muralitharan—will walk out with a lot more confidence.