Ojha remains committed to fight for India spot

“I don’t think it is all over yet for me,” says the Bengal left-arm spinner.

Pragyan Ojha was disappointed with the IPL snub this year.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Pragyan Ojha has not played for India since his match-winning 10-wicket haul against West Indies in Mumbai in 2013. That performance had won him the ‘Man of the Match’ award. What was even more disappointing for him was that he went unsold in the 2017 IPL auction.

“Yes, it is disappointing but again I look at as a challenge to force [myself] back into the reckoning by virtue of consistent performances in domestic cricket. I don’t think it is all over yet for me,” Ojha says in an interview with Sportstar before flying to Delhi to play for Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“Yes, I definitely thought I would get many more Test match opportunities after that Mumbai Test. Things never worked my way in the last couple of seasons. But, I am confident of doing well,” says the 30-year-old left-arm spinner.

“I don’t think not being an all-rounder of sorts was a major factor against me in not being in the reckoning. Yes, I admit that the demands are more from a player now. But, one should remember the team is well-settled and doing well,” explains Ojha. “And, I am working on my batting a lot, scoring 30s and 40s in Ranji Trophy. [I’m] definitely improving with each game as a more complete player,” he added.

‘Finest moment’

The Hyderabadi takes pride in reminding that he happens to be the only spinner in IPL history to win the Purple Cap given for the highest wicket-taker in a season. “That remains as one of my finest moments apart from being a member of the two winning teams in IPL - for Deccan Chargers and later on Mumbai Indians,” he pointed out.

Ojha believes being uni-dimensional in the current era of top-level cricket could be disadvantageous. “I am aware of the demands and have been working really hard to earn my place in the Indian team,” he insists.

Questioned whether he had any regrets for switching sides in domestic cricket, Ojha says: “No nothing like that. Then, it was a professional call which was also emotional for me. I had to play for an Elite Group team in Ranji Trophy and since Hyderabad (his previous team) was in Group C, I had to take that decision.

“Frankly, I am glad that Hyderabad has done exceptionally well to make it to the knock-out phase in the just-concluded season. I always have that emotional connect with Hyderabad which has given me everything as I grew up playing the game here,” Ojha remarked.

Ojha was staid about his IPL snub, saying he would look ahead to the next edition with hope as every team would need a revamp. “I am capable of playing well to be there in the IPL and for India,” says the confident spinner. “When the team (India) is settled, all you have to do is to prepare well consistently and be ready to grab the chance when it comes you way. That is what I am hoping for,” says Ojha.

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