Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha will be appearing for the English
county of Surrey in the ongoing season. He will play in both, the CB40 one-dayers
and the County Championships from this month onwards.
The BCCI has approved Ojha's NOC to play in the county championships. Currently,
Ojha is looking to sort out his visa to the UK and once he has done that, he
will be off to the UK. Ojha will play his first game from August 15, a CB40
match. Ojha has never played county cricket before and in general, hasn't had
a lot of cricket in England either.
Interestingly, he will feature for Surrey at the same time as the Indians struggle
to get their premier off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to pick up wickets in
the Test matches. Ojha has played ODIs and Tests for the Indian team, having
made his international debut in 2008 and 2009 respectively in the two formats
of the game. However, he has not been a regular in the squad when India
travel abroad given the lack of help of help for spinners that pitches in England,
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand provide.
Ojha's biggest learning from his trip to England will be the art of bowling
on unhelpful conditions that will help him to pick up the tricks of the trade
under such conditions. He said that there wasn't too much cricket around in
this season in India and he could do well to play in the county circuit and
hone his skills.
Likes of Bishan Bedi, Dilip Doshi, Maninder Singh, Sunil Joshi and Murali Kartik
have been the left-arm spinners who have all played for county sides in the
past. In fact, Kartik is now a regular in the county circuit, having played
for many years. Ojha said that while he hadn't spoken to them, he did have a
chat with former Indian left-arm spinner, Venkatapathy Raju and taking regular
tips from him.
Ojha also said that the times have changed a lot for the spin bowlers from
previously when the wickets could be bought. The batsmen, according to him,
of the current generation are more confident to hit through the line and the
best way to be able to get the wickets was to try and tie them down.