India v West Indies, 1st Test, New Delhi, 1st day

Playing county cricket has helped me grow - Ojha

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 6, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin discuss tactics, India v West Indies, 1st Test, New Delhi, 1st day
Pragyan Ojha now has the job of guiding Test debutant R Ashwin © AFP
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Pragyan Ojha, the India left-arm spinner, has said the experience he got playing county cricket in England has helped him adjust to his new status as the senior spinner in India's Test line-up. Ojha has played 11 Tests in total but has not played one since November last year. With both Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra dropped for the first Test against West Indies, he finds himself playing alongside debutant R Ashwin.

"I took it in a positive way," Ojha said of suddenly being given the responsibility of leading India's spin attack. "I spoke to seniors like Anil [Kumble], Harbhajan, Rahul [Dravid] and [VVS] Laxman when I was out of the team and they all advised me to go and play county cricket. When you play there, you are given a lot of responsibility and they expect you to win games for them. That helps you grow as a cricketer. I also played the Irani Trophy where I tried some variations."

Ojha took 24 wickets at an average of 12.95 for Surrey in the County Championship in England over the summer, and marked his return to the India team with figures of 3 for 58 on the first day on a flat Feroz Shah Kotla pitch. He said the wicket was slow and unhelpful for bowlers, and the only way to find success was to stick to your lines.

"The wicket wasn't doing much and it was about sticking to one line, getting the basics right and just testing the patience of the batsmen." He said he had particularly enjoyed his dismissal of Kraigg Brathwaite because he had beaten him in the flight and had him stumped.

Though Ojha kept West Indies in check with his strikes, Shivnarine Chanderpaul's unbeaten century gave West Indies a base from which they can look to push on to a big total on the second day. Ojha said it was a challenge bowling to Chanderpaul but he did think he had him in trouble a couple of times on the sweep shot.

"Chanderpaul is one of the legends of the game and he has played very well here. The amount of experience he has is amazing. I really enjoyed bowling against him and, while he was batting, there were a couple of half-chances while he was sweeping when the ball fell short of square leg. It is a great battle bowling to a legend and hopefully I will get him out."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 11:34 GMT)

what a waste of test cricket.....india bak to what they do.......9 wickets by spinners and opening with spinners.....hahahahahaha......that why they lose overseas

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 7, 2011, 10:48 GMT)

India all out for 209. Whoever thought this series is a piece of lettuce in a double cheese burger! Even after the humiliation at the hands of England, we haven't learnt to be humble and respectful of the opposition. Will this be a wakeup call to the so called experts on Cricinfo and the BCCI alike? I say it again, this series is going to be a brute of a contest. Windies bowlers are second to none and their batsmen are hungry, humble and talented. I see people criticising me when I said we can have tough times in this series if we don't remove Shiv. Well, here you go. Thanks to Dravid, we at least crossed 200. Wonderful show from the Windies and dismal show by Indians. Game on.

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 7, 2011, 9:37 GMT)

I can only eat my words. Here is UMESH YADAV bowling an over that had 140Kph plus all six balls. I had earlier said that Indian bowlers could not keep a consistent 140kph - I have been proved wrong. Although Yadav did not take a 1st innings wicket, he displayed fire and with maturity could be a handful. He will set a new bench mark of bowlers to follow - so that is good news for India. I can imagine him bowling on helpful tracks. OHJA was kept out of that spinners role - left hand spin brings a new dimension to our bowling.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 6:42 GMT)

@SamRoy. Fully agree with you. Missing golden chance to groom younsters!

Posted by redneck on (November 7, 2011, 5:04 GMT)

well spoken indervidual, and level headed!!! hope he keeps going for indias sake. their ability to take 20 wickets without zaheer hinges on the likes of ojha stepping up. also india need a modest person or 2 around there team once it starts rebuilding. with all the ipl riches for any player close to indian selection its important to have a few players who dont let the money get to their heads and keep the rest of the boys in check.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 4:39 GMT)

Good to see the Indian selectors have at last woken up to the fact that Harbhajan was pretty much finished three years ago & that Mishra simply isn't up to Test standard. Ojha was instrumental in Surrey winning their last four County Championship games last season & being promoted to the First Division of the Championship by a whisker, so he'll always have a special place in Surrey fans' hearts (hopefully he'll play a full season for us in 2012, but sadly that looks doubtful, as he'll almost certainly be on international duty for India). Ashwin, too, was by far India's most threatening spinner in the ODIs - both in England & India - &, on that basis, richly deserves a chance at Test level.

Posted by SamRoy on (November 7, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

It's astonishing that on this flat pitch the youngsters (Virat and Rahane) didn't get a chance. This downright selfish attitude displayed by Sachin, Dravid and Laxman is getting on my nerves. And selectors and team mangement deserve some flak for selecting Yuvraj (certain failure in Australia).

Posted by SamRoy on (November 7, 2011, 3:36 GMT)

Ojha needs an arm ball.. and needs to vary his pace more. He was varying his pace 70-85 kph yesterday but ideally needs to vary it in between 75-95 kph. Anyway the most positive thing about him is he doesn't ball many bad balls.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 7, 2011, 3:19 GMT)

I do agree with NRI that Rahul Sharma was seleted a bit prematurely in to squad.. But Mishra/Chawla didnt show enough control in internationals to be in the playing 11.. May be, we can stick with Ojha, Bhajji and Ashwin for sometime and blood Rahul keeping him in the squad.. Hope he grows into a good consistent bowler.. Better not to give him chance prematurely and spoil his chances..

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 3:16 GMT)

For all those cribbing about Rahul Sharma not playing, what is his 1st class record? Time and again we see the "cricinfo" experts emphasizing that the FC record should be taken into consideration while selecting the test team. Isn't this another case of IPL/T20 performance gaining test berth for someone? Nothing against Sharma, but he probably would have learnt more by bowling in tandem with Bhajji at Mohali against the likes of Raina and Kaif than spending time carrying drinks at Kotla. Kotla has always been a slow, low wicket. It's time it produces some good tracks. Thank God this is WI. It's otherwise impossible to force a result against a top team, Kumble's last test a case in point. And a word about Yuvraj Singh. 4 years ago, he was ruthlessly exposed in Australia. It seems that selectors are readying him for another disaster there. Alas, the series would have been lost by that time.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 7, 2011, 3:15 GMT)

I always thought Ojha should be our first choice replcement.. He can attack the stumps relentlessly and a spinner ll get purchase and respect only when he attacks stumps.. Just because he cant bat a bit, he was overtaken by Mishra in England.. Good to see him shine.. Ashwin need to have a little bit more patience and more consistent on the attacking front..

Posted by wifan69 on (November 7, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

@ here2rock...u gotto be kidding me...in australia, WI got a thrashing and shiv got MAN OF THE SERIES..wat do u call that or u should ask brett lee!!

Posted by hayden_w.i. on (November 7, 2011, 2:31 GMT)

@ here2rock Chanders has 24 test centuries, 7 against India guess who he scored the other 17 centuries against? the other teams! so i don't know where you get this idea that he doesn't do well against other teams.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 2:00 GMT)

Raina is a ODI material...not for TEST

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 7, 2011, 1:35 GMT)

@NRI I tend to agree with you. Players for the Ind team should be based on at least a couple of seasons at domestic level and ideally some series at the second tier Intl level and I don't think Rahul Sharma has done enough just yet. @Nampally I think you're being harsh to say Chawla has been tried and failed. Although Chawla didn't deliver big time in ODIs few spinners do early in their career and he has played just 2 tests and is only 22. He definately has ability and deserves a good run in the team particularly when you think of how Ind persisted with Harbajan when he was below average. I hope Mishra's desperately poor series in Eng means he doesn't fall off the selectors' radar. Whilst Jadeja bowled really well in the last 2 ODIs, I would like to seem him play on a few A tours first in the longer format and if he's is selected, it's based on his bowling first and foremost.

Posted by here2rock on (November 7, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a legend when playing against India, he does not do well against other countries. Once against a poor pitch, no wonder India does not do well with fast bowlers. There is nothing in the pitch for them. Wy would you want to be a fast bowler in India?

Posted by Nampally on (November 7, 2011, 0:16 GMT)

@NRI:Don't be astonished at Rahul's selection. He is a very promising bowler who needs to show his capability if ever he gets into XI. Mishra & Chawla had their cxhances as leg spinners but failed badly. In WI, on spinners wickets, neither Harbhajn nor Mishra could take advantage. Bishoo, the WI leg spinner bowled brilliantly on the same wickets. Mishra also bowls many No Balls which is totally unacceptable for a spinner.Actually Mishra batted better than he bowled. Chawla was tried first & failed. So the third leg spinner Rahul Sharma is in the squad but is Not acceptable to Dhoni, who has benched him for 7th match in a row. The Indian Selectors & Dhoni should get together and decide why include Rahul in the Squad only to be benched! Ojha, easily the best spinner, had to cool his heels being consistently dropped in all formats because Dhoni prefers Jadeja, Yuvraj or Harbhajan. Personally Ojha,Ashwin & Rahul are 3 best young spinners who should be the Indian future in Spin bowling.

Posted by wolf777 on (November 6, 2011, 23:33 GMT)

Did someone mention selecting Raina for Australia tour? You got to be kidding. We all saw how he plays on bouncy wickets in England. He is a walking wicket…

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (November 6, 2011, 22:57 GMT)

Oval is very similar to sub-continent tracks. Remember the Ashes of 20009 where it spun on day 2? Swann had his best match at the Oval against India this year. So I wouldn't get too carried away by his figures for Surrey but having said that it will certainly help improve any players playing in the best first class structure in the world.

Posted by NRI- on (November 6, 2011, 22:04 GMT)

It is ASTONISHING that Rahul Sharma, who has done NOTHING in tests, first class matches (18 wickets in 10 matches is poor), ODIs and even 20-20 is actually in the test frame ahead of Jadeja (who is promising to be a great allrounder if he can bat against pace), Chawla (forgotten...but why?) and even Mishra and Bhajji. Before writing off the last two, taking wickets on home pitches against WI batsmen excluding Gayle & Chanderpaul cannot be compared to bowling to England's great batting line-up on seaming, non-turning wickets. In all probability, even Ashwin & Ojha would have failed in England, even Swann didnt get many wickets. On this wicket, even Sehwag & Yuvraj can take 10 WI 2nd innings wickets between them on day 4 or 5.

Posted by ashok16 on (November 6, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

why dont these cartoons play a fifth bowler? test cricket is boring as is.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 21:18 GMT)

Beat India Beat India Beat India Beat India Thats my Mantra ! I am Asiba -The Buffalo Soldier out of Bridgetown, Barbados---Home of Superstar RIHANNA !

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 21:11 GMT)

Ojha seems to be the best spinner in India at the moment. India should try 3 spinners in the remaining WI tests - Ojha, Ashwin, Jadeja/Misra/Sharma and pick 2 which gives best combination of playing eleven for Australian tour. Left arm spinners would be useful against Australian side packed with right hand bastman. The 3rd seamer wouldn't be as useful even in Australian conditions. Ojha is a classical left arm spinner, but Jadeja is not too far behind. VVS should be rested for the remaining WI tests to try out two of Raina/Yuvraj/Kohli at number 5 and 6 and select the number 6 for Australian tour.

Posted by zico123 on (November 6, 2011, 19:49 GMT)

Raina should play a County stint instead of domestic season, that would realy help him to resurrect his test cricket

Posted by zico123 on (November 6, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

why does Gambhir field at short leg or silly point, how many times he got hit and injured in recent times, its time to give him break from that position

Posted by zico123 on (November 6, 2011, 19:45 GMT)

don't understand why India always leak so many easy runs through third man area, why can't they spare 1 fielder for thirdman area specially against fast bowlers, if boundaries are cut short that would encourage the bowlers like Ishant and Yadav who are bowling their heart out.

Posted by zico123 on (November 6, 2011, 19:42 GMT)

Ojha and Aswin should play all 3 test matches against WI, no place for Bhajji.

Posted by RK.Chandru on (November 6, 2011, 19:35 GMT)

Selecting Rahul Sharma who has a bare cupboard (18 wickets from a mere 10 first class matches) ahead of more seasoned and experienced campaigner Amit Mishra (391 wickets in 105 first class matches) in the test squad defies any logic or reasoning. Selecting a player on the basis of his performance in the IPL (even then, Rahul Sharma hasn't won any matches on his own either), seems foolish. It seems like the end of the road for Bhajji who couldn't even capture a wicket in the recent ranji match against U.P bowling the maximum overs for his side (emulating Bishen Bedi in the act)

Posted by Nampally on (November 6, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

When the magic of 2 spinners sent all 5 wickets down why wasn't the third spinner playing? This spin trio of Ashwin, Ojha & Rahul should be tried operating in tandem. That is when we see some results. On Indian wickets even Finn bowling accurately with swing + control of length & direction was only moderately successful.Why not focus on spin and take 20 wickets instead of giving unwanted century to Chandrapaul. India has the bowling talent and it must be put to use. I have been requsting inclusion of Ojha & Rahul since the England tour. Only Ojha finally made it and he really showed what Indian bowling is missing. When will Rahul get in the XI?.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (November 6, 2011, 19:21 GMT)

I THINK BCCI SHOULD START A PROGRAM TO SEND YOUNGSTERS FOR PLAYING COUNTY CRICKET . ALLOW THEM TO PLAY COUNTY CRICKET INSTEAD OF RUBBISH IPL OR CLT20.

Posted by laxmanrules on (November 6, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

BTW, Bhajji bowled 28 overs against UP at 3.28 without taking a single wicket.

Posted by ABP235 on (November 6, 2011, 18:35 GMT)

Good to see a bowler other than Harbhajan in Dhoni's team. I am breathing well now. Had, had enough really. Excuses galore from Bhajji, from Dhoni everytime. Bhajji has been underperforming in bowling repeatedly, but Ozha was kept out always. They used to give one off chance to Ozha and despite not doing badly, was dropped. But for Bhajji, who is considered a strike bowler, he struggled to take wickets on day 4 and 5 of a test match and skipper dhoni was always there to defend saying the pitch was not turning, was flat blah blah. Here on Day 1, two spinners with just 12 tests between them have fared well. No doubt, the team that they are playing is WI with no Gayle and Sarwan, but I want to see these 3 spinners (including the talented Rahul Sharma) persisted with for at least 1 year, should be played on all surfaces (including Australia) and then we should see results in comparison. Getting Bhajji back will be a disaster. I am happy Jimmy Amarnath is making a mark as the selector.

Posted by wolf777 on (November 6, 2011, 18:30 GMT)

As long as India keep producing this type of tracks, tough luck. Also, where was the fifth bowler? No wonder Indian attack lacks variations after few overs and allows batsmen to settle down. Indian bowling is probably is the worst among top ranked teams.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 6, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

Glad to see Ohja get his long overdue opportunity. Still have doubts about Yadav at the moment who has hopefully shown that speed without line and length is as ineffective as not having any speed at all. He needs to get his radar sorted out and that should done at domestic not international level. Sharma bowled reasonably well and even touched 90mph but didn't really threaten either. Don't understand why Dhoni didn't go with 3 spinners given the pitch. @Mohaseen Khan why are you going about Aus when Ind is playing WI? And all this talk of clean sweeps in Aus is exactly the kind if attitude that Ind took to Eng. If you think all is well again with Indian cricket because they won 5-0 against Eng in a ODI series then you probably didn't see any of the test matches in Eng. Winning / losing is not important at the moment. What is, is for the bowlers and batsmen to get back to the basics and focus on performances and let the results take of themselves.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 17:42 GMT)

u guys pls stop complaining and enjoy the match, why on earth, people always complaining others, every talent will be identified and chance will be given to them in indian team, enjoy cricket mates

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 17:10 GMT)

@Mohaseen Khan relax...india always start off slow! things should pick up real soon! and ten watch!

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 16:31 GMT)

IF WE PLAY REMAINING 2 TESTS VS WI ON SUCH FLAT SLOW AND LOW TRACK WHERE 147.9KPH LOOKS LIKE 130K'S WITH SUCH BOUNCE THEN I AM SURE IN AUSTRALIA THERE IS EVERY POSSIBILITY OF CLEAN SWEEP AGAIN....REMEMBER AUS WILL PLAY INDIA AFTER THEIR SA AND HOME SERIES VS NZ AND INDIAN VLL PLAY IN AUS AFTER THIS SERIES WITH SUCH FLAT TRACK....IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO ADJUST OUR BATSMEN FROM THESE PITCHES TO THE ONES IN AUS....SO IF INDIA REALLY WANTS TO WIN IN AUS ATLEAST THEY PREPARE HARD AND BOUNCY TRACK AT WANKHEDE WILL GRASS ON IT SO THAT INDIA CAN BE BETTER PREPARED FOR DOWN UNDER BECAUSE WI HAVE BOWLERS LIKE EDWARDS AND RAMPAUL ,ROACH THAT CAN GIVE UR BATSMEN HARD TIME ON GREEN BOUNCY TRACKS..

Posted by Romenevans on (November 6, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

He's probably the no.1 "TEST" spinner we have in our country. He don't leak runs, even when he is not getting wickets to create pressure for other ends and bowlers. I have no idea why BCCI always drop him when they tour overseas.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

Harbajan may have helped a little more than Ojha. Amit or Rahul Sharma may could have done the spot Ojha is currently in.

Posted by playitstraight on (November 6, 2011, 15:55 GMT)

Good job Ojha, you are definitely a good spinner, just keep the confidence going and you can take wickets on any pitch! Ashwin also bowled really well today, proving that he is not just an ODI and T20 bowler, but a test bowler as well. Ishant and Yadav were unlucky, they couldn't get any wickets on a flat pitch, but I'm sure they can take wickets if they bowl good lines and lengths.

Posted by Nampally on (November 6, 2011, 15:48 GMT)

Dhoni finally gave Ojha a chance in the XI. After consistently preferring an All rounder to take Ojha's place, it dawned on Dhoni to give a chance. Ojha bowled so well in England this year that I felt sure that Ojha would be called in to play for Indian team lacking in bowlers. But Dhoni preferred Jadeja to Ojha. A" specialist" bowler is far better bowler than an all rounder who can also bowl. Having said that, Dhoni also included Yuvraj inexplicably!. This place shld. have gone to Rahul Sharma, who is an ideal leg spinner with his accuracy & wicket taking ability.5 Specialist bowlers & 6 specialist batsmen (incl. Dhoni) is the right combo to win. Rahul would have chipped in with another 3 Wkts to the all 5 wkts. taken by spinners.Pataudi used as many as 4 spinners in Tests while Dhoni is reluctantly using 2!. India's strength is in the spinners - why on earth Dhoni does not play them. Rahul has been benched 7th match in a row embracing all 3 formats!.He is better off playing in Ranji!

Posted by OhhhhMattyMatty on (November 6, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

Decent spinner. Him and Panesar are about equal in standard.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

Very well bowled Ojha. But if you are going to test the patience of batsmen, Shiv is not the one going to be sucked into such traps. As you rightly said, he is a Legend. Shame that people don't give him his due. And to think that he isn't done yet in this match, it is a huge setback for India. Unless we get him early throughout the series, Windies are always going to post a fighting total. And with the bowling they have, our batting will be under some serious pressure. Whoever thought this series is an insignificant piece of lettuce in a double cheese burger. Was that Ugra who made that over the top comparison?

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