India was the last major cricketing nation to embrace the newest format of cricket, the T20. India played its first T20I match in 2006 and then won the 2007 World T20 in South Africa. The IPL T20 league, which has gone on to become the richest and most lucrative league in the world, has made India the most happening place to be.
During the early years of IPL, one spinner caught the eye of every expert and fan and he was Pragyan Ojha, who is the only spinner to win the purple cap, given to bowlers with most wickets in an IPL season, in IPL 2010. He has seen T20 format develop in front of his eyes and sportstarlive.com caught up with him for an interview.
“I had grown up watching Test and one day cricket. Those were imprinted on my mind,” recalled Pragyan Ojha, one of the pioneers in the game’s shortest version. “It took time to understand what the demands of the latest form were.”
“They would obviously want to get runs as fast as possible and therein lay the challenge of not just containment. However, well we bowled, there was no guarantee of a dot ball or a wicket. So field placement was of paramount importance,” he said.
“After the initial excitement and with no idea on how to approach things, it took a couple of games to understand and evolve in the latest form,” said Ojha.
Pragyan Ojha enjoyed much success in the initial years of the Indian Premier League with the now defunct Deccan Chargers team, even winning the IPL title in 2009 in South Africa. He has picked 89 wickets in 92 IPL matches.
He recalled his days with Deccan Chargers, saying “There was a great support system in the (now defunct) Deccan Chargers squad. Gilly (Adam Gilchrist) trusted me a lot. Robin Singh had a lot of knowledge about white ball cricket. When legends I looked up to such as V.V.S. Laxman, Gilly, Andrew Symonds and Herschelle Gibbs discussed cricket in the dressing room with a budding player like me, it was a great boost for my confidence.”
“Getting Robin Uthappa out at Vizag was most pleasing. In the IPL, beating M.S. Dhoni with my flight, pace or line and length will remain my treasured memories,” added Ojha.