Pragyan Ojha swaps the ball with mike

Deccan Chronicle.  | Moses Kondety

Sports, Cricket

Quits cricket for commentary.

Pragyan Ojha

Hyderabad: Pragyan Ojha, the only Hyderabad cricketer to represent India in all three formats - Tests, One-Dayers and Twenty20s - announced his retirement from the game via a letter to the BCCI president on Friday. He’s not going far from the field though, dumping his floppy flannels for designer suits in the commentary box. “I am getting into commentary. We’ll see how it goes,” the 33-year-old told this newspaper.

To start with, “I am calling all the domestic games for the BCCI, both in English and Hindi,” said Ojha, who is on the BCCI panel of commentators. “The IPL is also lined up... other series will gradually follow.”

In an international career from 2009 to 2013, the left-arm spinner took 113 wickets in 24 Tests; claimed 21 scalps in 18 ODIs and got 10 wickets in the 6 T20s he played. He also has 424 wickets from 108 first class matches (best figures being 7/58) between 2005 and 2018.

Unlike most past cricketers, Ojha has no plans to start an academy. “I believe when I am talking about coaching or advising any youngster it will be my sole responsibility to be 100 per cent there. And for that to happen I need some time, for I believe a youngster’s career will be affected if I am present but not giving 100 per cent,” he explained.

For now, the biggest plus for him is “getting to spend more time with my six-month-old son Yohaan.”

However, Ojha does not completely rule out getting into cricketing gear again. “If I get permission from the BCCI, I will maybe explore playing some leagues outside India (such as the Caribbean Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League, the English 100) or leagues in other counties,” he says.

In his letter to the BCCI, Ojha thanked players and coaches from Hyderabad and outside for helping him realise his dream. “I am thankful to my childhood coach, Late T. Vijaya Paul, who instilled in me the love for the sport of cricket, my school — Bhavan’s Sri Rama Krishna Vidyalaya, all its authorities,” Ojha mentioned.

“I am very thankful to Mr. V.V.S. Laxman for mentoring me like an elder brother, Mr. Venkatapathy Raju for being the role model I always looked to emulate, Mr. Harbhajan Singh for being a constant adviser and Mr. M.S. Dhoni for providing me with the honorable opportunity to wear the Indian Cap. My Hyderabad teammates — Mr Amol Shinde, Mr M.P. Arjun, Mr Alfred Absolom and Mr P.S. Niranjan have been an integral and inseparable part of my journey. My utmost gratitude to Mr. Arjun Yadav who was the captain when I made my Ranji Trophy debut and also Mr. Kanwaljit Singh who coached me during the early phases of my career,” Ojha wrote.

Ojha termed receiving his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar and accomplishing the feat of taking 100 Test wickets as his most memorable moments.

Ojha also thanked the Hyderabad, Bengal and Bihar cricket associations for whose teams he played.

The IPL too was not forgotten. “My journey with the Indian Premier League has also been a memorable one and the Purple Cap win will always be an indelible memory — a special mention of the teams Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians for making me a part of their legacy,” Ojha wrote.

Ojha also thanked his family members, especially his uncle and aunt Mr Chakradhar and Mrs Gitisudha Moharana, “who supported me through the budding days of my career, making their home — a home away from home for me.”

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