Bangalore: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for his ability to surprise opponents with smart moves. On Friday, he wanted to catch New Zealand off-guard when he got Pragyan Ojha to open the attack. While the move came as a surprise to many, Ojha said he was ready for the challenge.
“After the toss, Dhonibhai came and told me that I was going to open the bowling. I was ready for such a challenge… There was some moisture on the wicket… Sometimes the ball grips when there is moisture. The plan was to make use of that,” Ojha said at a media conference.
Ojha had the most impressive figures among the Indian bowlers. Asked about his strategy, he said: “In the morning session, the ball was new and it was difficult to grip. I was just sticking to the basics. Later, I was trying to make the batsman play every ball.”
Ojha has 72 Test wickets, among which 32 have come through lbws. On being told about the statistics, Ojha said: “I think it shows that I bowl straight. And when the ball turns, it goes to the slip and short leg fielders.”
Asked whether the other bowlers lacked in discipline, Ojha said: “I don’t think so. Zaheer bowled superbly in his first spell.
“Zaheer, (Umesh) Yadav, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and myself supported each other well to pick wickets. Getting six wickets on a pitch which did not help bowlers is good to boost bowlers' confidence,” Ojha added.
According to Ojha, if the catch of Martin Guptill would have been held in the slips, there would have been a different story altogether as the ball was doing a bit in the morning.
“There was one catch dropped, and if that had been taken then it would have been a different story,” he said.
He had words of praise for New Zealand as well. “New Zealand played quite brilliantly today… And that is why what we did today was a good effort,” Ojha said.
Ojha sounded confident about his team’s batting and said that he expects the pitch to behave in a similar manner for the next couple of days. “I felt it was a good first day wicket. And I believe that it will remain like this for the next couple of days… I’m confident that our batsmen will do a good job on the wicket.”