The ongoing Road Safety World Series cricket tournament is a rare opportunity for cricket fans to set the clock back and wallow in nostalgia, watching legends of yesteryear in full flow again.
Pragyan Ojha who retired from International cricket in February 2020, is part of the Indian Legends team. He says he feels great to be back on the field, rubbing shoulders with his former teammates.
“Since this tourney is for retired players, we are enjoying each other’s company. It’s always a great feeling for any cricketer to be back on the field, especially since last year was so bad,” says Ojha.
The left arm spinner says what he misses most is the dressing room atmosphere. “Because that’s the place where all the stories emerge from. The dressing room is always filled with fun and laughter and it’s the place everyone wants to be in, a place where you make and create great memories. On the field the focus is on performance, but in the dressing room, you always want to pull others legs,” he laughs.
Apparently, it was Sachin who inspired everyone when they entered the ground on the first day. “He said, ‘read what is written on our T-shirts; it’s the Indian team, so it is our responsibility to give our 100 per cent,’” Ojha said, adding, “We bonded big time; and for the recent Maha Sivarathri we had dinner together.”
“Paa ji (Sachin) was talking about the challenges he faced when he was new to cricket, his life lessons, how he managed to adjust to things during the tours, how things have changed in cricket and how players have transformed, his itinerary as a 13-year-old boy, his struggles, preparation for matches, etc.”
Talking of another legend, Virendra Sehwag, Ojha says the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ has an amazing sense of humour. “Viru’s wit keeps the dressing room alive; he is very unique and different. His one-liners always trigger laughter,” he reveals.
“Our performance is a reflection of how well we have been bonding and having fun. We have been spending quality time with each other and that is helping us give our best,” says Ojha, who played 24 Tests and 18 ODI’s for the country. Meanwhile, playing in a bio secure bubble is a whole new experience, the 34-year-old admits.