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Updated: March 24, 2013 00:37 IST

Pragyan pitches for his best

V. V. Subrahmanyam
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Pragyan Ojha thanks the skies after he had James Pattinson caught off Virat Kohli on Day 2 of the fourth Test between India and Australia at Ferozshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on Saturday. - Photo: S. Subramanium
THE HINDU Pragyan Ojha thanks the skies after he had James Pattinson caught off Virat Kohli on Day 2 of the fourth Test between India and Australia at Ferozshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on Saturday. - Photo: S. Subramanium

When he had James Pattinson caught at slip by Virat Kohli, Pragyan became the third fastest Indian to reach the milestone of 100 Test wickets

There were no wild celebrations. Just a look at the sky, and a feeling of content for the Hyderabad left-arm spinner, Pragyan Ojha, after sending back James Pattinson caught at slip by Kohli - for his 100th Test wicket in his 22nd match. Incidentally, only the second from the City after Nandlal Shivlal Yadav (102 from 35 Tests) to achieve this feat in Tests.

Ironically, for someone who took 20 wickets against England and with two consecutive five-wicket hauls, had to miss out of the first two Tests against the Aussies in the ongoing four-match Test series.

Importantly, the tweaker from Odisha who settled down in Hyderabad long ago, is more focussed on the job on hand than getting worried about anything else.

Interestingly, Ojha started off as a fast bowler before changing over to spin on the advice of his first coach Sashank back in Orissa from where he shifted his base to Hyderabad in 2001. He always looks to his mentor and coach Vijaya Paul in the city for improving his skills.

“I never felt like an outsider here and should thank HCA for the way they treated me over the years,” he recalls.

Ojha clearly shot into national prominence much quicker, thanks to his impressive showing in the IPL. He later even earned the ‘purple’ cap for being the highest wicket-taker in one IPL edition. By any means, a standout performance on pitches which are normally loaded in favour of the batsman.

Ojha clearly thrived on the fact that the city had produced quality spinners over the years, and he always had the liberty and privilege to bank on seniors such as Shivlal, Venkatapathi Raju and Kanwaljit Singh to pick some valuable points about spin.

Ojha trapped Sri Lankan spinning great Muthiah Muralitharan (the only bowler in Test history to take 800 wickets from 133 games) for his first Test wicket on his debut in 2009 in Kanpur.

Ojha believes that being part of a winning team is the best feeling one can enjoy. Much better than taking a five-wicket haul and still end up on a losing note.

“Every time you contribute to the team’s win, it enhances your satisfaction levels,” he insists. This he picked up from the more famous Hyderabadi, V.V.S. Laxman, whose heroics in India’s winning causes are now part of cricketing folklore.

“I don’t believe in any personal goals. Winning is the biggest feeling I love to enjoy,” Ojha says even as he became the fastest to claim 100 Test wickets from India after off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna and leggie Anil Kumble.

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