Former captain Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh on Saturday hit out at Matthew Hayden for claiming that they had chickened out of 2004 Nagpur Test because of the green wicket and said the former Australian opener has written "a lot of crap" to sell his book.
While a livid Harbhajan retaliated by calling Hayden the "biggest chicken hearted cricketer" he has ever seen, Ganguly reminded the Australian of his century on a pacy track in Brisabane and called upon him to behave like an international cricketer.
"I don't know what these Australian cricketers are up to? Even Ricky Ponting wrote a lot of crap to sell his book and now this guy Hayden is doing so," Harbhajan fumed.
The former Australian opener in his autobiography "Standing My Ground" had said that Ganguly and Harbhajan chickened out after having a look at the grassy Nagpur strip during Australia's tour of 2004. He had even expressed his surprise in the manner in which Harbhajan had "food poisoning" on the eve of that Test which Australia won convincingly.
"Who is Mathew Hayden to judge Harbhajan Singh's caliber? I don't know what he is smoking these days. Probably he was in some kind of trip when he wrote all that rubbish. Should I now give Hayden some money to keep quiet?"
If that wasn't enough, Harbhajan said that he is still willing to bowl if Hayden has thecourage to face him.
"Thisis an open challenge. Whenever and wherever Hayden wants me to bowl at him, I am ready. Does he have the courage to face me. Because, whenever I have seen him bat against me, he always had a petrified look. Just check the record books in case you want to know how many times I have got him out," he said.
Referringto Hayden's term of "greentrackitis", Harbhajan said, "I have scored a half century even on Australian soil. May be Hayden has this habit of conveniently forgetting the achievements of Indian cricketers. At the end of the day, he doesn't have the qualification to judge the calibre of Indian cricketers."
Ganguly, on his part, said "I request him (Hayden)to behave like an international player."
Drawingcomparisons of the Nagpur wicket with that of Gabba in Brisbane, Hayden had written that Ganguly's late withdrawal was due "greentrackitis, where you develop a severe intolerance to green wickets likely to give plenty of headaches as a batsman".
Gangulyreminded Hayden that he had scored a hundred at Gabba besides playing important roles in India's wins later.
"Heremembered Brisbane in Nagpur. Just want to remind him of my hundred in Brisbane in the first Test. Also since 2003, we have beaten them (Australia) everytime in Brisbane. Me and Bhajji have been important part of Indian team on all those wins," he said.
Ganguly, who was the Indian captain, pulled out of the Nagpur Test, citing a leg-muscleinjury.