I don't mind getting overshadowed by Sachin Paaji: Ojha
Pragyan Ojha was supposed to be India’s hero on Day 1, but his superb effort at the Wankhede stadium was overshadowed by crowd favourite Sachin Tendulkar, who enthralled the packed gathering, which included his mother Rajni and family, with delightful batting on Day 1 of the second Test against West Indies, in Mumbai, on Thursday.
The spinner, who registered excellent figures of five for 40 in 11.2 overs, though, did not mind. For him, Tendulkar’s farewell is more important than any personal landmark.
"Whatever it is, this Test match belongs to Sachin paaji. It’s a special one for all of us. Definitely, we all want him to get a lot of runs in this special match and I don’t mind getting overshadowed,” he said after the end of the day’s play.
"I would like to dedicate this five-wicket haul to Sachin paaji. It is a special one, and I am really happy that I got this five-wicket haul in his 200th Test match," he added.
Image: Pragyan Ojha of India celebrates the wicket of Kieran Powell of West Indies with Sachin Tendulkar
'I thank God I got another opportunity and got five wickets'
This was Ojha’s sixth five-wicket haul, in his 24th Test. The left-armer came in to bowl in the post-lunch session and triggered a lower order collapse, as the visitors were bowled out for a paltry 182 in their first innings.
The 27-year-old pointed out that it was the extra bounce in the wicket that made life difficult for the Windies batsmen.
"I think there was some bounce in the wicket and, as the ball got older, it started turning a bit. So it was all about sticking to your basics and keeping tight line and length and putting pressure," he said.
Fellow left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s absence from the series because of injury paved the way for Ojha to play in both the games. He claimed that his good performances in domestic cricket helped boost his confidence to enable him to make such a grand comeback into the playing eleven.
"I think all the credit goes to domestic cricket. I always feel it’s important to go back to domestic cricket and perform there. If you perform there consistently, what our seniors have advised is that they (selectors) will notice you. I thank God I got another opportunity and got five wickets," he said.
Image: Ojha congratulated by teammates
'I think it's a great partnership'
Off-spinner R Ashwin also chipped in with wickets, taking three for 45 in 15 overs, while Mohammed Shami again gave the batsmen lot of problems for figures of 1 for 36.
Ojha believes his partnership with Ashwin has proved beneficial.
"I think it’s a great partnership. We understand each other very well. I am really happy that we were able to execute things we were thinking. More importantly, we did well for India."
For now, he pointed out that his and the team’s only aim is to see Tendulkar continue his innings on Day 2 and score a big hundred.
"It’s a special Test match going on and we are really focusing on this one; hopefully, Sachin paaji gets more runs and so do other batsmen. And, hopefully, we get the win."
Image: R Ashwin