‘If you get Sachin’s wicket, I’ll gift you something special’: Pragyan Ojha’s reward for dismissing Tendulkar
Ojha had an interaction with the owner of the franchise, who guaranteed the spinner a gift if he was to get Tendulkar’s wicket.Updated: Jun 29, 2020 14:13 IST
Former left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has revealed how he was presented a special gift on dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in an IPL match. During the 2009 IPL, which was held in South Africa, ahead of Mumbai Indians taking on the now defunct Deccan Chargers – which Ojha was a part of – the spinner had an interaction with the owner of the franchise, who guaranteed him a gift if he was to get Tendulkar’s wicket.
The owner met him the night before the game, at a team dinner, and encouraged by his words, Ojha took Tendulkar’s wicket. At Durban’s Kingsmead Stadium, Ojha finished with 3/21 – dismissing Tendulkar, JP Duminy and Shikhar Dhawan – a performance that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.
“Our owner came to me, and the way I was bowling in South Africa, he had a word with me,” Ojha told Wisden India. “He is from Hyderabad [the team Ojha represented in Ranji Trophy], [he is] one of the team owners in our local leagues in the Hyderabad Cricket Association system. He knows me right from my childhood. He walked up to me and said ‘Pragyan, if you get Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket, then definitely I’ll have a special gift for you.”
“He knew exactly that I used to love watches. I told him, ‘Sir, If I get his wicket, I need a watch’. It so happened, the next day, I got Sachin paaji’s wicket and he gifted me a watch.”
Ojha’s wicket of Tendulkar was crucial as it triggered a slide for MI. Chasing 169 to win, MI were on song at 86/1 before Ojha’s three dented the chase and they were eventually bowled out for 156. Ojha had Tendulkar caught at covers by Herschelle Gibbs for 36 and taking the confidence of his performance forward, the left-arm spinner finished as the fifth-highest wicket-taker of the season with 18 scalps.
“It’s a special wicket,” Ojha recalled. “Getting someone like Sachin paaji is a wonderful feeling, one of those wickets that you always dream of getting as a bowler. You feel nice, that you’re good enough to compete with people who have dominated world cricket.”