Matthew Hayden out to frustrate Australia’s bid for maiden T20 world title

Matthew Hayden

Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden will take his place in the dugout for their semi-final against Australia tomorrow, but he isn’t just vying to help to them to a third T20 World Cup final.

Hayden will come up against his home country, for whom he was top-scorer in the 2007 T20 World Cup, and will also face his former opening partner Justin Langer, now Australia’s head coach.

For the former opening batsman, the prospect of facing his home country has a surreal air.

He admits that he has mixed feelings about the prospect of Pakistan undoing Australia’s bid for a first T20 World Cup.

“It is a very unusual feeling; I was a warrior for Australian cricket for over two decades, so that does give me the benefit of having wonderful insights not only into these players but also into the culture of cricket in Australia,” Hayden said.

“I guess from my point of view, there is the challenge of the heart, the challenge of the mind in terms of what’s going to happen over the next 24 hours, but I’ll also say very proudly that it’s been wonderful to be a part of Pakistan cricket.

“We have some incredible young players, a mix of wonderful, experienced players in our lineup, and they and the team are performing admirably.”

Matthew Hayden backs Fakhar Zaman

Pakistan have had lots of star players as they emerged from Group 2 of the Super 12s unbeaten, and Hayden believes Fakhar Zaman could be the next to make a big impact.

Hayden said: “Fakhar has I think, been the standout outfielder for our team, as well. He saves five to 10 runs every game, and five to 10 runs within a T20 concept and batting lineup, include your own runs, maybe 20s and 30s, here and there, which means that overall he’s just been such an important part of the side.

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“Don’t be surprised if you see something incredibly special from him tomorrow, as well, because he is smashing the ball in the nets.

“In particular, if you look at a potential matchup against Adam Zampa, who’s been the leading wicket taker in the T20 World Cup, I think that is a fantastic target, an opportunity for Fakhar to really dominate and position Pakistan in a strong competitive state.”