Pragyan Ojha's action cleared by BCCI
Pragyan Ojha's bowling action has been cleared by the BCCI. He was suspended for bowling with an illegal action in December. The bowler will mark his return to competitive cricket during Hyderabad's last Ranji Trophy Group C game against Himachal Pradesh on Friday.
"It's hard to describe but yes, I am delighted that I have overcome the glitches in my action," Ojha told ESPNcricinfo from Hyderabad. "I have managed to get the corrections in place sooner than I expected. That is something I am certainly glad about."
The BCCI clearance came after Ojha's action was tested again at the new testing facility at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai following an extensive corrective programme. Released by Mumbai Indians earlier, Ojha will now be available for the IPL player auction scheduled for February 16.
But the auction was the last thing on his mind. "Forget about anything, even picking wickets isn't on my mind right now. I am just happy to get out there on the park. I know how I have coped for having been unable to play," he said.
Over the last six weeks, Ojha spent almost half of the time trying to get his action corrected. He was guided by D Vasu and M Venkataramana, coaches at the BCCI specialist academy. Once the experts pointed out that his arm was bending due to lack of proper body weight transfer.
"The momentum of the body wasn't happening naturally. When the body weight doesn't get transferred properly, you tend to use wrong muscles. That is what was happening to me," Ojha said.
Identifying the problem is one thing. Rectifying it is another. Ojha had a hard time in adopting the corrective measures. "First three-four days, I just couldn't do it. My body wasn't responding to at all. But all my close ones really helped me out. Both the specialist coaches, [VVS] Laxman and three of my close friends - Amol Shinde, Alfred Absolem and PS Niranjan [all first-class cricketers from Hyderbabad] kept me focused and positive."
The presence of close ones helped Ojha overcome the "worst phase of his career" without seeking formal psychological help. "It was a terrible feeling. Even when I would walk or go to a ground for training, people used to give a strange look. It was as if I had committed a crime. It used to hurt. But then I realised the only way I can change their approach is by getting things right myself."
Ojha's action has been questioned time and again ever since he burst on to the first-class circuit almost a decade ago. While he was never called on the field, he had to cope with the murmurs of bowling with a dodgy action. After being reported for a suspect action during the zonal one-dayers in November, Ojha volunteered to get his action tested and was subsequently suspended.
Ojha hoped that with his action cleared, he can put the episode behind. "I just hope that the worst is behind me and hopefully this topic will not hound me anymore. I hope that I would be able to play cricket at peace and without any strange looks."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo