Hyderabad:Sparks flew and acrimony shrouded Australia's home series against India last summer but towering opener Matthew Hayden believes the Indian Premier League (IPL) has healed the wounds and the animosity would not recur again.
India's tempestuous tour of Australia threatened to tear apart the cricket world following the racism row involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. Hayden, on his part, contributed to the tumult when he described Harbhajan as an "obnoxious weed".
Then came the IPL which had players from various countries sharing the dressing room and Hayden believes that normalised relations between individuals.
"IPL definitely came as a big help. It increased the players' understanding of each others' culture. I enjoyed playing for Chennai Super Kings alongside someone like (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. It was a fantastic opportunity for me," Hayden said on Tuesday.
Asked how he planned to tackle the Indian spinners, especially Harbhajan, on the spin-friendly tracks, Hayden said, "As opener, my primary job is to help the side see through the first 30-40 overs, before the spinners come in the picture. But I enjoy the challenge of spin, more so when it's on the Indian soil."
Hayden said the forthcoming series would pose a new challenge for him.
"As opener, I take on the new ball and it gives me an opportunity to shape the innings. In this series also, I have the important job of shaping up the innings and a good start is always the key," he said.
Talking about the current team, Hayden said he did miss Symonds, who was dropped from the squad for lack of commitment, but was sure of the burly all-rounder's comeback.
"Of course we miss him, he is a great mate. But I know he is going to come back stronger. He is a great player and would definitely return, no question about that," Hayden said.