For Hayden, life comes full circle in Chennai

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Now a Chennai Super Kings player, Matthew Hayden fondly recalls the time he first toured the city as a part of the Australia 'A' side in 1997.

Updated: April 22, 2008 17:30 IST
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Australia opener Matthew Hayden described the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the beginning of an "incredible journey" and said initial matches of the Twenty20 championship had set a very high standard for the rest of the tournament.

Hayden, who is playing for Chennai Super Kings, said the high-scoring matches in the tournament have raised the bar for every team.

"In Mohali the other night, we saw over 400 runs scored in just 40 overs. We will see high scores regularly," he said.

Hayden was referring to Chennai Super Kings' 33-run win against Kings XI Punjab Saturday. The Super Kings scored 240 and Kings XI replied with 207.

On his IPL stint, Hayden reflected on his first visit to Chennai in 1997 with the Australian 'A' team and said that was the start of his "love affair" with India.

"I first visited Chennai in 1997 with the A team. Walking out to bat, I looked around at this stadium and dreamt of the day I will play for the Australian team. I have always had a soft corner for India and now, playing for Chennai Super Kings, my life has come a full circle as this city will be my base during the IPL."

Hayden sought to play down the contentious issues that cropped up during India's tour of Australia earlier this year.

When asked about his relationship with Harbhajan Singh who is playing for Mumbai Indian, Hayden said: "We have had a few fantastic battles in Australia, and now I am looking forward to renewing my rivalry with Harbhajan."

Hayden said the non-availability of foreign recruits for the entire tournament would not affect the IPL.

"That's the beauty of the IPL. You get to see almost all the top players in the world at some point in the tournament. I think, the IPL is the start of an incredible journey," he said.

On playing under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy, Hayden said he had no issues and praised the Indian ODI captain as a "a fine thinker and a confident individual".

"For me, it is a great experience sharing the dressing room with Indian players and learning how they go about their cricket," he added.

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