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Virender Sehwag was the best captain I have played under, says Naman Ojha

Naman Ojha's exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.


Ojha has had a stellar domestic career
Ojha has had a stellar domestic career

The problem of plenty is something which is considered as a blessing for a particular side. However, such a problem can hamper the career of many talented individuals.

We have seen numerous such individuals in India who have had glittering first class careers but have hardly been given a chance to make a mark for themselves on the international stage. Given the fact that the national side might have already had a particular player for that position in the batting or bowling department, a lot of cricketers other talented cricketers have missed out.

Ever since MS Dhoni made his debut for the Indian side back in 2004, every other wicket keeper who made their debut in and around the same time would have counted himself extremely unlucky.

Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik had impressed the selectors but were unable to break into the side due to Dhoni's effectiveness both with the gloves and the bat.

And, we can't blame the selectors for doing so, can we?

Another such wicket keeper-batsman who would have counted himself extremely unlucky is Naman Ojha.

A consistent domestic performer from the beginning of his career, Ojha did everything in his calibre to get the selectors to notice his performances.

After a successful outing with Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy and the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, he was included in the squad for the tour to Zimbabwe back in 2010 but managed to get only three games under his belt in the entire series.

Having failed to perform, he was dropped from the side.

However, his moment of reckoning came in the 2013-14 season. He had a phenomenal domestic season, scoring 835 runs in seven Ranji Trophy games, his best in over a decade of domestic cricket. He carried his form forward to Australia with the A side in 2014, scoring three consecutive centuries, including a double-century, in the first-class games.

With his performances in that season, he could have walked into any other country's national side. However, it was not the case with the Indian side as he was just included as a back-up for the injured Wriddhiman Saha during India's tour to England back in 2014.

He continued to shine for the India A side scoring three centuries against Australia A. He was finally given his Test debut back against Sri Lanka in 2015 but an average performance led to him being dropped once again.

Ojha, who has had an immense amount of experience under him has the experience of captaining the India A side as well. However, his batting performances dipped with the pressure of captaincy. Ojha himself went on to claim that he prefers to play under a captain rather than playing as a captain.

Ojha has had a few decent outings in the Indian Premier League as well. Having played for the Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Ojha has had a consistent run almost every year.

His first season with the Sunrisers in 2014, which turned out to be his best season saw him score 232 runs at an average of 38.66 with one half-century to his name.

Currently, at the age of 34, Ojha continues to perform well with the bat on the domestic stage.

Sportskeeda caught up with the wicketkeeper-batsman during the Dr (Capt) K Thimmappiah Memorial Cricket Tournament being held at the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Q. Despite having such a stellar domestic season in 2013-14, you were hardly given a chance with the Indian side. Does that get frustrating and how does it affect your performances?

A. Yes, it does get frustrating but I try to score wherever and whenever I play. Whether I play at the KSCA or in Madhya Pradesh, I look to score runs. It's unfortunate when you get out, but I try to score a lot of runs in every match I play.

Q. At the age of 34, what does the future hold for you? Do you feel you can make another comeback into the national side?

A. You never know. God is great. You have to give your 100% and keep your fitness level up and perform well with whatever team you play for. Let's hope for the best.

Q. Having played under a lot of captains and having played as a captain itself, what is the difference between the two?

A. I do think playing under a captain is very easy for me because you don't have to use your brain too much. You just have to focus on your batting. However, when you are captain, you have to focus on your performance as well as the team's performance.

So, you have to make sure you give your 100% on the field and use your brain even if you perform well or fail to perform.

Q. Who is the best captain you have played under?

A. Shane Warne was great and Virender Sehwag was the best captain I have played under.

Q. Having won the IPL with the Sunrisers just a couple of years ago, how has David Warner's captaincy been and how is it different from the Indian captains?

A. I think Davy is a kind of player who sets an example on the field by setting an example for everyone with whatever he does. Whether it's in the nets, during practice, or during the match, he's always setting a benchmark. He always gives his 100% and that sets an example for us so we don't have any choice but to give our 100% as well.

Q. Which team would you like to play for next year?

I don't' know which team I would get selected for. I would like to play for whichever team's combination I fit into.

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