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By Sabi Hussain
New Delhi: Feb 10, 2014
Despite not being retained by Mumbai Indians, an unfazed Pragyan Ojha does not hold any grudge against the Indian Premier League (IPL) champions and wants to start his Twenty20 journey afresh with a new franchise when the cash-rich league’s players’ auction is held on February 12.
“There are things which are not in your hand. I was not disappointed when Mumbai did not retain me. I am still in the auction race. I would have been disappointed had the team left me out for non-performance. I performed for my team. Look, whichever team selects me at the auction, I will do well for them and give my 100 per cent,” the left-arm spinner told PTI in an interview.
I am a professional. I am not getting emotional over my non-inclusion. It’s part of the game and you have to accept that. For me, the team should miss my services, and not me who should be missing the team. Let’s see what happens in the auction,” he said.
Mumbai Indians retained Rohit Sharma, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, but left out Ojha, Mitchell Johnson, Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Smith for the coming season of the IPL.
Mumbai Indians will, of course, have the option to use the “Right to Match” card at the players’ auction on February 12 in Bangalore, but with a remaining purse of Rs 21 crore, it would be difficult for the franchise to buy back all of the players.
Ojha has been slotted among the 16 top players with the highest base price of Rs 2 crore each.
The 27-year-old was with the Deccan Chargers during the first four seasons of the IPL, but was transferred to the Mumbai Indians before IPL 2012.
Ojha said he still holds a “soft corner” for the two franchises and has fond memories of being part of these teams.
Ojha has been part of an IPL-winning team twice (Mumbai and Deccan) and Champions League T20 (Mumbai).
“You develop a liking for a team and its environment when you turn up for them. I was part of Deccan Chargers for four years and played for Mumbai for two years in the previous editions. I have a soft corner for these two sides. I hope to get back to Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians again during the auction,” he said.
Mumbai has the option of getting Ojha back into their fold using ‘Right to Match’ card, but the Odisha-born Hyderabad tweaker does not want to think too much.
“That option is there but it’s totally up to them what they decide during the auction. I would love to play for them again but you don’t have control over the auction. Whichever franchise takes you, you have to play for them. It’s simple.”
Last season, playing for Mumbai, Ojha had picked up 16 wickets from as many matches. Overall, he has played 79 matches in the IPL, accounting for 85 wickets and winning the Purple Cap award in season three for picking up the most number of wickets in the tournament.
Ojha said he is eyeing domestic tournaments to be in peak form during the IPL 7.
“I have a fair amount of time in my hand. I am improving my fitness level and working on my basics. I would be playing in some domestic matches for Bharat Petroleum, Corporate Trophy, Ranji Trophy one-dayers and T20s. I want to be match fit before the IPL,” he signed off.
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