It's more than a dream: Ojha

Hyderabadi becomes the fastest Indian left-arm spinner to 50 wickets

Umesh Yadav bowled with pace and variety to claim four wickets against West Indies on Wednesday. AFP

This, in a country that has produced such stalwarts as Bishan Singh Bedi, Ravi Shastri and Venkatapathi Raju! Kirk Edwards was Ojha’s 50th Test victim, in only his 13th Test, as he bested Salim Durrani’s previous record of 14 Tests.

“It's more than a dream,” Ojha said on day three of the second Test. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think I could do this. It's a great confidence-booster.

“I am delighted, I am happy with the way my cricket is going now. Growing up, my idol was Venkatapathi Raju, and I am so lucky to be still working with him. I practice with him a lot. It's great, he keeps encouraging and giving me advice.”

‘In drivers’ seat’

Ojha picked up four wickets in West Indies’ first innings, but had no success to show in the second essay. “Right now, we are in the driver’s seat and things are going pretty well,” Ojha observed. “In the morning, there was some moisture in the wicket and it was doing a bit for us. We hope the same thing happens tomorrow. Our guys are bowling superb, hitting the right areas. We are confident of getting them out early tomorrow.

“As the day progressed, the wicket got better,” observed the man from Orissa who moved to Hyderabad more than a decade back. “At some point of time, it happens when you think that if I had got one more wicket, it would have been better for the team. But they also batted well in the second innings, we should give credit to them.”

Having bowled alongside Harbhajan Singh for most of his Test career, Ojha now has a new partner in offie R Ashwin. “It's great to have Ashwin,” Ojha remarked of his South Zone team-mate. “We complement each other. I hope we carry on this partnership while bowling and get a lot of wickets for India.

“Both of us have been bowling with the new ball. I thank the captain that he has a lot of confidence in me and Ashwin.”

His stint with Surrey in the County championship has made him a better bowler, Ojha acknowledged. “I grew more aggressive as a bowler. It isn’t just about straighter one and turn.

“I am now developing variations in pace. Basically, it's about handling pressure. As an overseas pro, you are expected to win games for them. It teaches you how to deal with pressure.”

The West Indies trail by 283 runs with seven wickets standing going into Thursday’s fourth day. “I hope it will be the last day and we can then look forward to Mumbai,” he smiled.

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