Pragyan Ojha: ‘I was fortunate to be always a captain’s bowler’

Pragyan Ojha takes pride in being the only spinner to clinch the Purple Cap in the IPL.

Pragyan Ojha: "IPL gives you instant recognition. But, it is the longer format of that teaches you a lot and makes you a near-complete cricketer." Photo: Special Arrangement

Pragyan Ojha happens to be the only spinner in the Indian Premier League to clinch the ‘Purple Cap’.

The 32-year-old Ojha, who has also been a member of three title-winning teams in the league, believes that to be a successful spinner, one has to really spin the ball. “You have to get the basics right. I don’t think you have to make too many changes in your style of bowling except changing the length in a T20 game,” Ojha told Sportstar on Tuesday.

He added: “The biggest challenge for a spinner is to pick wickets in the middle-overs for that would put breaks on the batting side’s intention to accelerate in the crucial phase of the game.”

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The Indian One-Day International (ODI) team, he believes, has profited immensely from the successes of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. He said: “This is the reason why India has been such a formidable side in ODIs in the recent past because of the success of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. I admire Chahal for the way he tosses up the ball constantly, looks for challenges.”

‘Captain’s bowler’

“I was fortunate to be always a captain’s bowler — be it Adam Gilchrist, Sachin paaji  (Sachin Tendulkar) or Rohit [Sharma] and M. S. Dhoni in ODIs and Tests. They understood my strengths better, gave me the cushion and the right field placements for me to do all the right things,” Ojha remarked.

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What is the big difference in the IPL now? “Wickets are much better, [there are a] lot of hard-hitters around, the game has become faster,” felt the left-arm spinner. “Yes, I take pride in being the only spinner in IPL to pick the purple cap which is something very close to my heart and [I] wish some other spinner emulates me,” he said.

Recalling some of his memorable moments from the IPL, he said: “Winning the title three times and the Champions League T20. Taking the wicket of Sachin paaji  in Durban in 2009 when he was at his peak. It was some kind of a mutual challenge thrown at each other by me and Rohit. I deceived the great man in flight to give a catch to cover.”

“For anyone dreaming to play for India, it is always better to have three successful domestic seasons than one IPL. No doubt, IPL gives you instant recognition. But it is the longer format of that teaches you a lot and makes you a near-complete cricketer,” he concluded.