Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha retired from international and first-class cricket earlier today. He played 48 international matches - 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and six T20Is - from 2008 to 2013, but is best remembered for his performances in the longest format. He took 113 Test wickets at an average of 30.26.
"It's time I move on to the next phase of my life. The love and support of each and every individual will always remain with me and motivate me all the time," he tweeted.
As Ojha prepares for the second innings of his life, here we take a look at the five most memorable moments from his 13-year-long first innings.
#1 The 2006-07 Ranji Trophy
Ojha made his First-Class debut for Hyderabad in the 2005 season of the Ranji Trophy but it was in the next edition of the elite competition when his moment of limelight arrived. Ojha enjoyed incredible success in the 2006/07 season, picking up 29 wickets in only six games at an average of nearly 20. He began the season with a six-wicket haul against a star-studded Mumbai batting line-up and from then on the show just got better with each game. Hyderabad did not qualify for the knockouts that season, but Ojha’s performances earned him a national call-up a year later.
#2 A Test debut to remember
He made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2009 in Kanpur. India won the game by an innings and 44 runs and it was S Sreesanth who stole the limelight with his six-wicket haul and won the man of the match award. But debutant Ojha played an equally crucial role in India’s win with his four wickets – one of which was the prestigious scalp of Mahela Jayawardene. But what stood out in Ojha’s performance was that he took a wicket off the very first ball that he bowled. He still remains the only bowler who got his maiden Test wicket on the very first ball that he bowled. The victim was T. Dilshan, who was caught at slip.
#3 A brilliant T20 debut
Ojha made his T20 debut against Bangladesh in the ICC World Twenty20’s fourth match at Nottingham on June 6, 2009. India won by 25 runs and the architect of the win was Ojha, who picked up four wickets – of Junaid Siddique, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Moshrafe Mortaza. The pressure of making an international debut in a World Cup opener was nowhere to be found in Ojha’s body language as he kept bamboozling one batsman after the other. India's victory sealed their place in the next round but they could not progress to the knockouts stage. Ojha, however, had a match and tournament to remember. He became only the third Indian after S. Badrinath and Dinesh Karthik to have been adjudged Man of the match on maiden T20 international debut for India.
#4 The excellent Test spell against West Indies in 2013
This game is mostly remembered as Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test. India played West Indies in Mumbai in 2013. Ojha’s performance was one to remember but it got overshadowed by the Master Blaster’s farewell. Ojha got two five-wicket hauls in both the innings and finished the match with 10 for 89 and also got the man of the match award. But after this game, he never got a chance to play for India again and this still remains one of the biggest mysteries of Indian cricket.
#5 The purple cap in IPL 2010
The slow left-arm orthodox bowler won the ‘Purple Cap’ in the IPL in 2011, which was his last season with the Deccan Chargers. From 2012-15, he represented the Mumbai Indians and was unsold for the remainder of the seasons. In 2009, Ojha helped the Chargers lift the title with 18 wickets, and in 2010, as mentioned already, he ended with the most number of wickets - 21 scalps, but Chargers lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third-place playoff.Published 21 Feb 2020, 16:43 IST