‘He wasn’t only aggressive with opponents, but even his own players’: Ojha recalls Anil Kumble’s captaincy
Even though Ojha never played under Kumble, the former left-arm spinner shared an interesting nugget regarding India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 21:24 IST
Former left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is one the rare cricketers to have played with some of the biggest superstars of the current and the previous era of Indian cricket. Ojha made his debut for India in 2008 when the Fab Four were still pretty much playing for the team, and played till 2013, when the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma had started becoming forces to reckon with.
Ojha has played all his cricket for India under MS Dhoni, and during his short five-year career, got to pick the brains of some of the best Indian cricket had to offer. When he made his ODI debut for India against Bangladesh, Ojha had credited former Test captain Anil Kumble for helping him fine tune his game. Even though Ojha never played under Kumble, the former left-arm spinner shared an interesting nugget regarding India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.
“When he was on the ground, Kumble used to be very aggressive, both with the opponent and with his own players,” Ojha told Wisden in an interview. “Off the field, you won’t be able to relate. I was taken aback, ‘Am I talking to the same person who I saw on the ground?’ He used to compete hard, but off the field, he was very soft-spoken.”
Ojha, the fastest India bowler to 100 Test wickets, weighed in on some of the others greats he got the opportunity to play with and observed them. From the Sachin Tendulkar to MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli, Ojha reflected on how each of these players had their own way of dealing with things.
“Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] used to be very calm, composed. He never used to give any reaction. He had a different approach. Anil bhai had a different approach. [MS] Dhoni and Kohli, they want to win games for the country, but their approach is completely different,” he said.
“Someone like VVS Laxman would listen to Suprabhatam [a collection of Sanskrit hymns] and then go and bat. That is his aggression. Someone like a Kohli will be listening to loud, Punjabi music, showing body language – not gestures – and he likes to show he is in your face. It is not wrong in any way, it was just different.”