Nitin Sharma

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I was not expecting a Test call so soon: Ojha

VVS Laxman has always been a supportive captain and his presence in the Test team will also help me a lot," says Ojha, in an interview to The Indian Express on his selection to the Indian team for the forthcoming three-Test series in Sri Lanka.

Having earned wickets and praise at the domestic and junior level, the news of Pragyan Ojha earning a Test cap surprises none. None but one: Ojha himself.


"To be honest, I was not expecting a Test call so soon," Ojha, who has been selected for the forthcoming three-Test series in Sri Lanka, told The Indian Express. "It came as a surprise to me."


Reality may take some time to sink in, but the Hyderabad left-arm spinner will soon realise he thoroughly deserves it. His stand-out performance - 11 wickets - in the Hyderabad Deccan Chargers's otherwise dismal Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign that landed him a place in the national team for the Bangladesh ODI tri-series and the subsequent Asia Cup in Pakistan.


"The IPL helped me a lot and I was still match fit when I got a call for the Bangladesh tri-series. I did not get a chance there, but bowling to the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene during the Asia Cup boosted my confidence a lot," says Ojha, excited at the prospect of sharing the Indian dressing room with his Ranji skipper, VVS Laxman.


"Laxman has always been a supportive captain. I guess his presence in the Test team will also help me a lot. He has been a guiding force for my performances in the Ranji Trophy," says Ojha, who hails from Bhubaneshwar but moved to Hyderabad in 2000.

Healthy competition


Even as the 20-year-old has made it to the national side, he has done so at the expense of fellow spinner Piyush Chawla, with whom he shares a close relationship ever since their under-19 days. "It was unfortunate that Chawla missed a spot in the Test team. There is no sense of competition between us and we take it positively whether we are playing together or not," he says.


Always keen to learn, Ojha says he got some valuable tips on how to bowl in the forthcoming series from none other than Muttiah Muralitharan. "Watching Murali is always a great learning experience and I received some tips from him. We've shared a good relationship since the IPL."