Ashwin and I are working hard: Ojha
Kolkata, Dec 7: Touted as the new spin-twins for India in Tests, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin carried a lot of expectations on their shoulders before the start of the England series. But since their brilliant performance in Ahmedabad, the two have been out-bowled by their England counterparts.
Ojha, addressing the media after another rough day for India in the field, as England amassed a first innings lead of 193 at stumps on Day 3 at Kolkata, insisted that he and Ashwin are putting in all the efforts to improve.
“Ashwin and I are working really hard. We haven’t been consistent in the last two Tests but the effort has been put in,” Ojha said.
While the Indian spinners dominated the Ahmedabad Test, picking up 13 England wickets between them, they were overshadowed by Monty Panesar’s 11-wicket haul that helped England to a 10-wicket win in Mumbai. One of the major differences between Panesar and the other spinners in that Test was his quickness through the air. While Ojha acknowledged his fellow left-arm-spinner’s skills, he said that it was impossible for a spinner to come into a Test and change his pace from the one he’s used to bowling.
“I have seen a bit of Monty’s bowling and he bowls with that pace all the time. He’s naturally quick through the air,” Ojha said. “Ashwin or I can never bowl at that pace because our style and natural pace is different. Someone who is used to bowling at 80-84 kmph cannot come into an important game and bowl at 100kmph. It will never work,” he insisted.
However, Ojha admitted to coming on to bowl on the morning of the third day at the Eden Gardens with a different approach from Day 2.
“This wicket wasn’t doing much, it was a straight wicket. So, I had to bowl to my field and not give them easy runs. Yesterday I was trying a bit to get early wickets but then I spoke to myself that I shouldn’t be giving away easy runs. The outfield here is very quick and the batsman doesn’t have to hit the ball too hard,” he said, explaining his changed strategy, especially against Alastair Cook.
“Yesterday I tried bowling round the wicket to Cook and that made it easy for him to play the sweep shot. So today I came over the wicket and held the middle and leg line. That made it tough for him to sweep as the lbw equation came into the picture,” Ojha said.
Having conceded a first-innings lead of 193 on the third day of the Test with four wickets to still to fall, India find themselves in a difficult position. However, Ojha chose to remain optimistic about the match and hoped the batsmen will grind it out in the second innings.
“Team India has a great record at this ground and the way the wicket is behaving, I’m quite confident our batsmen will do well,” he concluded.