Ojha aims for consistency
Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, has said he will aim for consistency after being picked in the India squad for the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka later this month. Ojha was not part of the squad that played the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in March, but was relieved to make a comeback.
"Obviously, there is a sense of relief that I am back in the ODI scheme of things," Ojha told PTI. "Who isn't happy to wear the India jersey? I have been working very hard. I would like to let my performance do the talking for me. My aim is to perform consistently and play in all three formats for a long time."
Ojha, who picked up nine wickets in nine games at 24.44 in the IPL, last played for India in the Test series against West Indies at home in November last year. However his last ODI was in Dambulla in Sri Lanka almost two years ago. He has picked up 20 wickets in 16 ODIs at 30.05. "The new season starts with this tour," he said. "Irrespective of the format, if you hit form early, it helps you to carry on with the momentum."
Ojha, who plays for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy, has been practicing with his domestic side and has also played some club matches in Chennai. He is part of a three-man specialist spin line-up for the tour of Sri Lanka, along with offspinner R Ashwin and legspinner Rahul Sharma. "I have been trying out a few variations in the nets," Ojha said. "But I would only try bowling those deliveries once I am fully confident about using those deliveries in match situations.
"Me and Ashwin have played against each other and together (for South Zone) since our U-16 days. When a quality bowler like Ashwin operates from the other end, you also get confidence."
The squad also includes Ajinkya Rahane, back from an impressive IPL in which he finished as the fourth-highest run-getter. He made 560 runs at an average of 40 and also scored a couple of half-centuries in the limited-overs leg of the India A tour of the West Indies in June. "By nature, I am a positive person and I always like to look at the brighter side of things. During the final phase of the A tour, I scored 79 in the Twenty20 and 58 in a one-day match," Rahane told PTI. "Those two innings boosted my confidence and will hold me in good stead ahead of Sri Lanka series."
Rahane last played for India in December last year. "The key to performing well overseas is to quickly adapt and adjust to various kind of pitches. I have never played in Sri Lanka but I don't think I will take much time to adjust to the situation out there."