Pragyan Ojha, one of the finest left-arm spinners produced by India, last played an international match in Mumbai in 2013, which was also the farewell match of Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar. Ojha took 10 wickets in that match and was named man of the match for that effort, but since then, he has seen a lot of change in his career.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had asked Ojha to remodel his bowling action. Being a determined cricketer, he made the required changes in his action and started afresh with a new domestic side as well. He previously played for Hyderabad, whereas now he represents Bengal in domestic cricket. He is looking forward to making a comeback into the national squad, despite the fact that he went unsold in IPL auction 2017.
During an interview with TOI, Ojha said, "The fact is all the teams were packed. There's no point dwelling on things which aren't in your control. I just came here and wanted to give my best. If I get to play (in the county), I will definitely go for it. During my stint with Surrey (in 2011), I learned a lot. Last year, I had an opportunity to play for Middlesex but it clashed with Duleep Trophy so I couldn't go."
Ojha picked three wickets against Mumbai by giving aways just 28 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in the league match of Vijay Hazare Trophy. He made life difficult for batsmen like Aditya Tare, Shreyas Iyer, and Abhishek Nayar by consistently bowling a tight line. Talking about that spell, Ojha said, "Playing against Mumbai is always special. Considering their history and the way they have dominated domestic cricket - you look to do well against them all the time."
Ojha also talked about his fitness, on which he is working really hard. He said, "When you look at the Indian team, every player is pushing hard (to be fit). I am looking to make a comeback and I have to work doubly hard. To do anything on the field, fitness is the key. I have been bowling a lot, running and working out in the gym. The most important thing is the diet. I have cut down on sugar, and I am trying to eat the right kind of food at the right time."
Explaining his remodeled action, Ojha said, "Previously, my run-up used to be diagonal, but now I am coming straighter (to the crease). That's the only difference that I have done. Also, there is a slight pause in my action (just before delivering the ball) and that fraction of a second helps to me gauge what the batsman is trying to do."
The 30-year old spinner concluded by expressing his determination to play for India, he said, "The fact that I am being overlooked constantly is the biggest motivating factor. Obviously, when you have played at that level and won games for the country, you know you can do it."