I was ready to open bowling: Ojha
Bengaluru, Aug 31: Pragyan Ojha quietly played the support role as his spin partner R Ashwin hogged limelight in the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad. But the left-arm spinner was the cynosure right from the first ball of the second Test, at Bengaluru. He shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan and ended Day 1 with four Kiwi wickets for 90 runs.
At the press conference, Ojha revealed that MS Dhoni had informed him beforehand about him opening the bowling and shared what went through his mind while operating with the new ball.
On whether he was surprised to be asked to open the bowling
Immediately after the toss, Dhoni Bhai told me that I was going to open the bowling and I was quite ready for it.
On bowling with the new ball
I just went in with a blank mind; I didn’t want to think about too many things. I knew the new ball wasn’t going to grip. The best option was to be disciplined and bowl a straight line so that the batsman has to play every ball.
On why MS Dhoni asked him to open the bowling
It was because there was some moisture on the wicket and he wanted me to exploit that.
On New Zealand batsmen’s aggressive batting approach
I thought it was a good first-day track. On a wicket, which wasn’t doing much for the spinners, their game plan was to be aggressive. Ross Taylor played very well. But nevertheless, we got six wickets on the first day.
On what has changed in his bowling since his debut
I think I’m using the crease a lot better and varying the pace quite well. I believe that if you hit the right area consistently, vary your pace and play with your field, as a spinner, you’ll be successful.
On the wicket and weather it will deteriorate
On Day 1, we cannot predict how the wicket will behave for the remaining days. But there was some turn if you bowled slow. Also, currently it looks a good batting track, which means our batsmen will get us a lot of runs.
On whether the Indian bowlers bowled too many loose balls
Not really. Zak bhai bowled superbly; he was unfortunate that a catch [of Martin Guptill] was dropped off his bowling. Had that catch been taken, it would’ve been a different story. Everyone bowled well and I thought taking six wickets on the first day shows that.
On one-third of his Test wickets being lbws
I think that shows that I just try to bowl straight where if a batsman misses, I hit. The variation happens from there – if it straightens, it gets the pad and if it turns, it goes to the slip. I try to keep it simple.