'It's a dream come true'

'It's a dream come true'
Naman Ojha, in all probability, will savour the greatest moment of his life come Friday when India play Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground. Barring any major surprises, the 32-year-old wicketkeeper will earn his Test cap, a dream come true for anybody who picks up the bat or ball. 

“Absolutely amazing, felt really good,” Ojha, still trying to come to terms after he was named as the replacement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha, said after a practice session. “Last month we played against Australia ‘A’, so we are in a good shape. Fingers crossed that I perform well.”

Ojha comes into the final Test well aware that it could be an one-off chance to prove his credentials. His ODI career has lasted just one match — played against Sri Lanka in June 2010 — and with Mahendra Singh Dhoni still the captain of the national team in the shorter formats, time is definitely not on his side. Saha, who himself has waited in the wings for a long time, dons the gloves in the Tests and him being 30, it seems likely the selectors may stick with him. Despite the pressure to perform in the limited chance, Ojha sounded relaxed.

“I played only one one-day and was dropped again. I went to domestic circuit and worked hard. I kept telling myself I need to work hard to play well again and score runs, that’s it. And I need to keep myself fit so when the next chance comes I need to make sure I make most of that. There is a little bit pressure but I am not thinking about that. I just want to enjoy this game because after a long time I am getting this chance. Waited very long, so just enjoy my game, and don’t think about anything,” the Madhya Pradesh keeper added.

A huge fan of Adam Gilchrist, Ojha’s batting in the two matches against Australia ‘A’ was anything but the destructive Australian’s. In the first match he scored a patient 56-ball 10 in the opening innings before falling for for a 6-ball 4. In the second match, he scored an 84-ball 10 and a 44-ball 30, strange for a batsman who’s known to score briskly on the domestic circuit. When asked if he changed his batting style, Ojha replied with an immediate no. “Whatever I am I want to be same. Wicket can have turn and bounce but I love to play my shots. Seniors told me to just spend some time so I was spending some time in the middle. But I think I spent too much time, usually I don’t!”

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