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Naman Ojha’s selection for India’s tour of England is a step in right direction

Naman Ojha's good run with the bat in Australia has finally paid off  © Getty Images
Naman Ojha’s good run with the bat in Australia has finally paid off © Getty Images

India called up their most successful batsman during the A side’s tour of Australia, Naman Ojha, as a replacement for the injured backup wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for the remaining Test matches against England. Devarchit Varma says this move will help them strengthen their batting reservoir.

You may call him Naman Ojha 2.0. The wicketkeeper-batsman, hailing from a small town from central India,has been making giant strides in the world of cricket. Ojha, who has put the years of disappointment behind him by dishing out splendid performances, deserves the national call-up he received, selected to replace the injured Wriddhiman Saha in the 18-member Indian squad. Ojha has been among the runs for quite some time, and tremendous performances Down Under helped himearn a call-up to the national side.

It was clear that Ojha meant business when he admitted to CricketCountry in an interview that he thought he was being wasted in the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils (DD). Ojha had expressed his wish to bat much ahead in the line-up for Sunrisers Hyderabad, and he had a satisfactory run in the slam-bang version of cricket.

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman had an immensely successful domestic season. In seven matches for his state Madhya Pradesh, Ojha smashed four centuries and a half-century to gather835 runs in the tournament. Ojha’s highest score during the last season was 211 against Services, a game in which his side failed to earn any points. During the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 season, he averaged a splendid 69.58.

Ojha was first included in the national side back in 2010, when selectors decided to rest senior players including MS Dhoni during the tour of Zimbabwe. Ojha played a solitary One-Day International (ODI), against Sri Lanka, in which he managed one run as his side was smashed by six wickets. With another call-up coming his way, on the back of the hard work that he has put in, Ojha won’t like to let go of the opportunity, if selected.

Ojha’s mettle as a batsman was proven during India A’s tour of Australia during the two unofficial Test matches. The right-handed batsman made most of the purple patch, notching up as many as three centuries in four innings to force himself into reckoning for the national side. Ojha notched up the scores of 219 not out, 101 not out and 110 as his batting average shot up to a whopping 430,narrowly missing out on breaking Rahul Dravid’s unique batting record.

The Indian selectors’ decision to include Ojha in the squad is a step in the right direction — both for the national side as well as for cricketers. His selection indicates that selectors strictly prefer performance over reputation, and at the same time, they are boosting the confidence of those who are working really hard to earn it.

Moreover, the confidence that Ojha would have earned with his successful tour Down Under would help him to put his best foot forward, in case if he is selected for either of the matches in England. India are likely to prefer the experienced ones, but the time that he will get to spend training with those seasoned cricketers in the national side will also help Ojha. With the national side’s tour of Australia scheduled up for the year end and keeping in mind his recent exploits on those wickets, this is certainly a move in the right direction.

Complete coverage of India’s tour to England here

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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