India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day

Ojha looking forward to another early start

S Aga

November 16, 2011

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

The first half of the third day at Eden gardens went perfectly for India, with West Indies bowled out for just 153 before lunch. Thereafter, the buzzword was discipline rather than destruction, with the visiting batsmen applying themselves far better in the second innings. Despite that, though, India are just seven wickets away from sealing a series victory.

Pragyan Ojha had a hand in each of the last four West Indian wickets to fall in the first innings, finishing with 4 for 64. He was confident that another early start on Thursday would allow India to push home the advantage. "In the morning, there was some moisture in the wicket and it was doing a bit for us," he said after the third day's play. "We hope the same thing happens tomorrow. Our guys are bowling superbly, hitting the right areas. We are confident of getting them out early tomorrow."

Ojha was given the new ball in the first innings, but MS Dhoni opted for a more conventional approach in the second. Ojha said he enjoyed his stint with the harder ball, though he reckoned it had more to do with the conditions than tactics. "The main reason was that the wicket was spinning a lot. Yesterday the light was bad so we thought of going with spin rather than pace. I thank Dhoni bhai for having a lot of confidence in me and [R] Ashwin."

Ojha has bowled just 11 of the 62 overs India have sent down so far in the second innings, and despite the early loss of Kraigg Brathwaite, West Indies didn't crumble a second time. "The wicket became a little better," Ojha said. "I think we did quite well, hit the right areas and bowled a disciplined line.

"At some point of time, you do wonder what would have happened if we had taken one more wicket. But they also batted well in the second innings. We should give them credit."

So far, he and Ashwin have complemented each other well, playing pivotal roles in the win in Delhi. In Ojha's case, the responsibility of being the side's senior spinner appears to have worked wonders.

Another big contribution in a win here, and Ojha would be more or less assured of a seat on the plane to Australia in December. But he insisted that he wasn't looking that far ahead. "I am not focussing on the Australia tour at the moment. My aim is to win the Test and look forward to Mumbai [the third and final Test against West Indies]. God willing, if I do well there I can look forward to other things."

On this evidence, he has much to look forward to.

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Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

nyc_missile : win by an innings in 4 days ... not convincing ???

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 17, 2011, 1:24 GMT)

Ojha or Ashwin in Australia where only one spinner ll play?

Posted by serious-am-i on (November 16, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

bhajji can settle down to IPL and tv shows now. We have seen enough of him. He is another fine example of Irfan Pathan category. One who is selected for bowling and can bat a bit, starts to give more importance to batting than his major role of bowling. Ojha should have been selected for English tour, he was infact in England when guy got injured and mishra got a look in the side. Mishra failed miserably to capitalize on his options against major teams. Now, so our spin options are Ojha, Ashwin. Mishra and Rahul Sharma are the backups. Yadav and Aaron are our speedsters. If at all Praveen can get more pace to his bowling then he can take over from Zaheer totally and ask Zaheer thanks for ur service now u may retire.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 23:03 GMT)

When the world cup team was announced, there was a fight for the 2nd spinner's slot between Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. But, out of the blue, Piyush Chawla, grabbed the chance, and expectedly, proved a dud. Piyush's line and length is his undoing, particularly his length. Amit Mishra, as was seen in England, is slower through the air, which makes the batsmen reach his balls as half volleys, though he has a better length than Piyush. But Ojha looks a better bet; Of course, he was not selected for the world cup as we already has a left arm spinner in Yuvraj. But, in test matches, Ojha should get chance. Ashwin should have been inducted into test matches at least a year ago, but because of Bhajji, he couldn't get a chance. Bhajji, for all the wickets he has taken, is an eyesore to watch, as his action is always under a cloud; Same was the case with Muralidharan and Akhtar. Ashwin looks in Kumble mode, but, with more variety, which makes him successful.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 22:36 GMT)

It Is nice to see Ojha doing well. On the English County cricket blogs nobody could understand why he wasn't playing for India. He made a big impact in a short time.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 21:01 GMT)

@ Nampally Dude Yuvraj never played Test under MSD for his left arm spin & Jadeja have never played a single Test. In ODI the combination of Yuvraj + Jadeja is much better than Yuvraj + Ojha, assuming MSD goes with his usually 3 Pacers 1 Spinner strategy. Yuvraj Jadeja will bat better (obviously), field better (obviously) and Yuvraj Ojha will only marginally bowl better because if a pitch is a spinning track then I dont think Jadeja will do much worse than Ojha.Jadeja's batting & fielding will compensate where ever he comes short. Also I dont think MSD will ever give the sole spin position to either Yuvraj or Jadeja if Ojha is there ruuning for the spot. Jadeja has improved his every aspect of game, though I still dont think of him as a test material.

Posted by nyc_missile on (November 16, 2011, 20:22 GMT)

Pathetic captaincy by Dhoni ! With a lead of 450 runs, he spread the field as if it was an ODI that made Barath and Edwards ease into their innings.When will we be able to crush an opponent convincingly at least at home ?

Posted by East_West on (November 16, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

Ohja has been always good but NEVER got chances due to the lack of guts by selectors to drop Bhajji. Also, Bhajji now become more of a batsman than a genuine bolower, so he become more handy than other spinners, Amit Mishra is another unlucky one! Hope INDIA persists with Ohja, Ashwin, Amit and may be Rahul Sharma! Having said, that it is high time Yuvi should be opted for ONLY ODIs, and may be Raina as well! of all the young ones, VIRAT seems to be good, Bardi should be given a chance, along with Rahane and Abhinav! I am not sure where Pujara fitsin! Also, it is high time we test Varon and Yadav in Australia! these kids have more hunger and pride to play for INDIA than Sreesanth! I am not sure if BALAJI fits in the future equations! wonder, what happend to IRFAN? Was he sidelined due to injury or lack of pace, or...I think after AUS tour, Laxman should retire, then Sachin, and then Rahul! by 2013, we should start playing without these three else India will be winning ONLY against Zim

Posted by PradeepR on (November 16, 2011, 19:21 GMT)

@zico123 - Trust me, Ravindra Jadeja is a better all-round cricketer than these two as far as test cricket is concerned since he doesn't have as much of an attacking game as these two have.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 18:56 GMT)

If yuvraj cant cement his place in test team even after 11 years, Others (pujara, rohit and virat, rahane, mukund) too deserve a fair and longish stint in test team. Good to see readers praising both the spinners. There were some comments after last match saying Dhoni was biased towards Ashwin and ignored Ojha purposely in the second inning. Both have different styles and they seem capable to hold the spin front for team India in the future. Every passing day of this test series (also the ranji trophy) has dented harbhajan's prospects of aussie tour..Good to see umesh yadav performing. Indian bowling seems to be peaking at the right time for aussie tour

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (November 16, 2011, 18:50 GMT)

Bye bye Bhaji. The black and white television set also had its heydays. Thanks for the memories, my favourite Turbinator!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 16, 2011, 18:48 GMT)

@Nampally as you know I share your view on specialist bowlers v all rounders because if Ind top 6 can't runs then no number of batsmen can and the prority to win tests is to ensure we have bowlers who can take 20 wickets. I know you prefer Rahul Sharma but I would like Chawla recalled as he's been doing well at domestic level. I like what I've seen of Ohja so far but I think it's too early to call him world class. @Nachiappan Rengenath I think Ashwin and Ohja are both good spinners and present different challenges to batsmen in Ind and of course Ashwin has a different build to Ohja which he uses intelligently but I don't agree that he is either less talented or less of a natural spinner. Also WI have so far not played spin well at all so it's not easy to say good they both really are.

Posted by zico123 on (November 16, 2011, 15:54 GMT)

Yuvraj and Raina should play 1 county session to develop as test batsman, at the moment their technique is simply not good enough

Posted by Godhelpus on (November 16, 2011, 15:54 GMT)

Well done Ojha, Ashwin and Yadav.They've bowled brilliantly and India has some excellent cricketers who will serve the country for many years to come. Harbhajan always throught he was guaranteed a place and now he's had a couple of slaps on the face. The first one from the Indian selectors and the second from the young boys who've shown him what quality bowling is all about. On the other hand the top quality seniors will play for us for many more years. Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir, the brilliant laxman, the great leader Dhoni. And the wonderful Rahul Dravid, he's just brilliant . I have to say, the West Indian cricketers are absolute sportsmen. The way they have congratulated Dhoni, laxman and dravid is great. They have a very good relationship with the Indians.

Posted by zico123 on (November 16, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

India should play Aaron Varun by resting Ishant, Ajinkya Rahane by resting Laxman or Dravid and Kohli by dropping Yuvraj in the next game, as part of audition for Australia series

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 15:42 GMT)

Definitely Ashvin is using his height and carom balls to pick wickets where Ojha is a naturally talented spinner. His qualities are much above than Ashvin's.

Posted by zico123 on (November 16, 2011, 15:41 GMT)

Ojha and Ashwin are already confimed for Australia tour, no need to worry, Bhajji is out

Posted by Saksham197 on (November 16, 2011, 15:12 GMT)

One left arm and one right arm spinner in the team seems like a very balanced attack, reminiscent of the kumble-harbhajan attack when both spun the ball in opposite directions respectively. Ashwin and Ojha both have good variations and have been performing reasonably well thus far with whatever opportunities have been given to them. Harbhajan, on the other hand, is again having an ordinary time with the ball in the domestic circuit. The treatment meted out to him is definitely not right for the third highest indian wicket taker. But harbhajan seriously needs a drastic change in approach as there are plenty of spinners waitng in the wings. Also, now in the pace attack it would be better to give varun aaron a go ahead of umesh yadav, who does tend to be erratic pretty often. Varun had good batsmen like Cook and Bell in trouble with his consistency and more reliable pace in the recent one dayers. Anyhow, on the whole, things do seem to be improving for india. Real test would be Australia.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

Ojha and Ashwin are nailing last nails on HS coffin for sometime...on top of it HS has not taken the ranji games by storm so far.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 16, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

Ojha has been a revelation. His guts to toss the ball everytime is something so refreshing. True spinner qualities, conspicuous by their absence in one certain Harbhajan Singh. I was left in awe of him when he flighted the very next ball after getting hit for a SIX by Sammy. That's what talented and brave spinners do, all the time. Take a bow to Ojha.

Posted by Nampally on (November 16, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Another fine spell of spin bowling by Ojha sent WI crashing into follow on. Ojha had captured 6 wkts. in the first innings at Kotla on a flat batting wicket. He rekindles the memories of Mankad, Nadkarni, Durrani & Bedi, all great left handed spinners.He varies his flight while maintining length + an armer as the stock ball. He is not afraid to flight the ball.If the batsmen cannot use theirfeet they are in constant trouble. Strangely, it was the same ojha who was bowling superbly for Surrey this summer & India without any good bowlers ignored him.Murali Kartik before Ojha got similar cold shoulder from the Indian Selectors -both world class spinners.Dhoni always preferred Yuvraj or Jadeja to Ojha because of their batting potential. But India has to decide whether they need a "specialist" bowler or a batsman who can "also bowl".In the past India did superbly with specialist bowlers as opposed to batting all rounders.India need to do the same if they wish to be competitive in Tests.

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