Naman Ojha: If I think about my chances, I get disappointed

For instance, Naman Ojha is in that zone where he has shed any ambition, expectations to be precise, and has resigned himself to solely enjoy playing.

Ojha had two good first class seasons in 2013-14, and 2014-15, scoring in excess of 800 in each.   -  K. Pichumani

The motive for an athlete in competitive sport is two-fold: to enjoy doing what they believe they have the better facility for - Passion, and to try belong to the highest level, and to push it, leave a lasting imprint if possible - ambition.

How much each of the two is felt in one at any given time depends on how they are placed in their career.

For instance, Naman Ojha is in that zone where he has shed any ambition, expectations to be precise, and has resigned himself to solely enjoy playing. "Focussing on my game.., focussing on the process... I enjoy playing..," cliches abound as he spoke to Sportstar after a match in the Vijay Hazare trophy at the MRF-Pachaiyappa's ground here.

When he has to skirt around yet mean how unfortunate he has been, he looks here, there, and everywhere, but only occasionally at the interviewer just because he has to. He grinned, whenever he said, "What can I do, yaar?," and in the end when he proclaimed, "Believe in god," seeking comfort and support in the affirming nod of his addressee.

Just how unfortunate he has been? Ojha got a National team call-up for the first time in 2010 for the tour of Zimbabwe, to play an ODI and two T20s. That time, Dhoni was rested. Hence the chance.

After five years, he made his test debut in 2015 in India's third test versus Sri Lanka at Colombo. This time, Wriddhiman Saha was out with an injury.

In between, he had an impressive tour of Australia with India 'A' in 2014, when he scored three successive centuries in as many innings, one of them converted into an unbeaten double hundred.

He had two good first class seasons in 2013-14, and 2014-15, scoring in excess of 800 in each. And now, he had to miss the first four matches for Madhya Pradesh in the recently concluded Ranji trophy, just when Parthiv Patel was picked in the National side for the home tests versus England.

But such is the nature of competitive sport. Especially cricket and for wicketkeeper-batsmen. But, one thing he cannot understand is why he was snubbed for the 2016 India 'A' tour of Australia 'A', for which he was named the captain initially.

Perhaps, he unwittingly answered it himself, when he, later, allowed himself to be miserly optimistic of his chances, and said, “One never knows. Anything can happen in cricket.”

This, after he had said, "If I think about my chances, I get disappointed, and thus frustrated. So, I've made it a point to consciously not think about it."

From the very little of the other things he spoke of, there was one remarkable takeaway as to what a modern-day cricketer focuses on while preparing for the T20 format.

"Strength training to increase one's endurance. T20 cricket is too intense in too short a time. One has to prepare for that kind of intensity. For instance, one has to be too quick when it comes to running. The quick singles are very important. And, one shouldn't find himself short of breath, or have difficulty in breathing in doing so," he said.