Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 2:
Odisha cricketer Pragyan Ojha is all set to join the Bengal Ranji team for the upcoming domestic season.
“Sourav spoke to me and said they’re keen on having me in the Bengal side. It was so exciting for me that I could not turn it down. The main objective was to play for an elite team to give push to my comeback. I’ve got the acceptance letter from Bengal team (CAB) and my NOC from Hyderabad team (HCA), is also ready,” said Pragyan while attending an award ceremony in the city.
“I owe a lot to the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) for their support, and the BCCI. It was my dream to play for India, and particularly at Test level. I am immensely satisfied with what I have achieved. I am 28 now and confident that I can play for the country for at least six years. But these next two years are most important for me. I need to make sure I use them to my best abilities and believe that playing for a team such as Bengal will help me perform better,” he added.
Ojha has been playing for Hyderabad Ranji team. However, given its placement in the Group-C, the team doesn’t get to play against higher ranked teams and his performance goes unnoticed. The Bengal team, on the other hand, is looking for a spinner and they believe Pragyan can do the job.
The move towards CAB was also a natural fit because of the familiarity with players and conditions. He had earlier played domestic and international cricket with several of Bengal’s leading players and knows their home ground Eden Gardens well, having played age group, first-class, Test and T20 matches there.
In three Test matches at the venue, he has taken 12 wickets of which 11 came in two matches – six versus West Indies in November 2011 and five against England in December 2012.
The spinner embraced Hyderabad since he represented them as a 14-year-old in 2001. He went on to represent India in 24 Tests and 18 ODIs. Despite bagging 10 wickets and a Man-of-the-Match award in Sachin Tendulkar’s last Test against the West Indies in Mumbai in 2013, Pragyan was left out and then had a suspect bowling action that took his career to the crossroads.
Pragyan, in the meanwhile, has found his place in the India A team that will be playing two four-day games against Australia A in Chennai. He is one of three spinners named for that series. The two others are Amit Mishra and Shreyas Gopal.