HOBART, February 26: India's Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday came under a fresh attack by Australian cricketers with opener Matthew Hayden calling the off-spinner an "obnoxious little weed", a remark which has the potential to create more bad blood between the two teams.
The Indian spinner, who was at the centre of a racism row involving Andrew Symonds, has borne the brunt of the Australian sledging during the explosive tour which has been marked by a series of verbal exchanges between rival players.
"Its been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan, the first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now", Hayden said on Brisbane radio.
"His record speaks for itself in cricket. There is a certain line that you can kind of go to and then you know where you push it and he just pushes it all the time.
"That's why he has been charged more than anyone that's ever played in the history of cricket," Hayden said.
Hayden's fresh salvo came a day after the Indian team management lodged a written complaint with Match Referee Jeff Crowe regarding Australia players' "provocative" behaviour.
Hayden and Harbhajan were involved in an ugly tussle at the SCG on Sunday with the Indians claiming that the Australian opener had termed the Indian a "mad boy."
However, Hayden made light of the incident and claimed India was complaining because "they are losing every game they are playing."
"I called him a bad boy," Hayden insisted.
"He took offence to that, I thought that was quite funny. I said mate you should be flattered, it's a clothing range," Hayden said.
Meanwhile, former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg also lashed out at the Indians.
"Ive really had a gutful of their whinging, this is international sport, obviously people are going to say things to try to unsettle you," Hogg said.
"It's not tiddlywinks. So long as it's not racial they shouldn't have a problem.
"As far as I am concerned if the heat is too hot in the kitchen then that's too bad.
"I reckon they should appoint an Asian referee for Indian games because when it's a non-Asian referee nothing against Jeff Crowe they never feel as if they are being listened to."
Hayden said he had told Ishant Sharma to settle down and on Monday quipped he would like to meet the stringbean paceman in a boxing ring.
"He is just young. I have said to him many times, you are 19, take it easy, Hayden said.
"At the end of the day you are 19, why don't you just worry about your bowling for a while," he added.