With 20 wickets, Pragyan Ojha was India's highest wicket-taker in the Test series against England. The left-arm spinner even outdid R Ashwin. Ojha may not have tasted much success in the Irani Cup against Mumbai, but he remains a vital cog in India's spin bowling options. With Australia up next,
Ojha is looking forward to spinning a web around the tourists. He spoke to HT about his desire to help India triumph against Australia...
Are you happy with your performance against England?
If I get 20-plus wickets but my team can't win, I will feel that I could not do the job. You don't get the satisfaction. Winning a Test is special and I'm keen on winning matches rather than getting milestones for myself.
What have you learnt from the England series that you will take into the Australia series?
Being fitter and stronger is what I would like to maintain, and bowling consistently from the start of the series, the way I did. Normally, when you play a couple of Test matches, your body starts getting weaker. I want to set a standard where my performance is not affected because of fitness.
England played our spinners without much discomfort. Why do you think foreign teams have started to play spin better?
It isn't that they don't play spin bowling abroad. They have also started to make wickets which turn and also practice before coming to the subcontinent. Most of the England batsmen were uncomfortable, but Alastair Cook was phenomenal.
Technology is improving so a lot of countries are trying to work on their weaknesses. They plan well before they travel to that country.
Looking forward, how do you think Australia will be different from England?
England were more experienced. They had a lot of well-settled players. But when you talk of Australia, they have young players just like us. Both the teams are in a phase where young guys have come in, it is like a transition phase. It is going to be interesting. As a young bowler, it is the right time to start taking up challenges. I want to start winning matches for India.
David Warner recently commented that ‘India is not unbeatable at home anymore’. How do you react to that?
I do not want to comment on this. It is his view, I will focus on the series. My aim is to go out and do my job well. I would like to think about what I have to do and our team's plan is.
Who do you think will be the best player of spin in the Australia team?
Nowadays, most Australians come for the Indian Premier League, so they are used to the conditions. So, none of them will really struggle against spin. We will have to plan against the team, not an individual player.
You have found more success in recent times. What have you done differently?
I believe in doing the basics right. I tick all the boxes before a series and during it I know what my limitations are. I don't try something out of the box. Hitting one length consistently is my strength and I want to focus on that.
Are you happy with where your career is?
It has just started, I am still young. My coach has always told me that once you take your place for granted, your graph will go down. Even when I play Ranji Trophy, I focus on every game. I take everything step by step.
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