Naman Ojha © Getty Images
Naman Ojha may find it tough to find a place in the national side as a wicketkeeper-batsman with MS Dhoni and Wriddhiman Saha in the squad © Getty Images

Naman Ojha is another class player in the Indian domestic circuit who has  the potential to make it through to the international arena. Ayush Gupta takes a look at the player’s quality, capabilities and achievements so far.

Born in Madhya Pradesh (MP), Ojha started his cricketing career in 2000-01 and made his debut at the Ranji Trophy playing for MP and has had a good career. In 2009, he was chosen for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise and the then defending champions Rajasthan Royals. Ojha made  immediate impact in the second match scoring an impressive half-century. He also scored a sparkling 96 in the season’s Challenger Trophy while playing for India Green.

Following his impressive domestic stint and also in the IPL, Ojha earned his maiden national call the following year for the One-Day International (ODI) series in Zimbabwe and played three games on the tour, but failed to make a lasting impact.

After two calm years, he again struck back in the 2013-14 season when he scored as many as 835 runs in just seven games. He scored his 10th  First-Class century against Bengal in November last year and also a brilliant 94 in March this year, which almost won the game for Madhya Pradesh. But some brilliant bowling by the Railways ended him and his team on the losing side.

Ojha, without much doubts has a good batting technique as he loves to drive the ball especially through the cover region. In the IPL this year, he scored a quickfire 79 off just 36 deliveries which gave a strong message to the other opponents as well as the selectors that he was in quite a good touch and would soon be contending for a spot in the Indian squad.

The recall to the Indian side became inevitable when he scored a couple of gleaming centuries against Australia A while playing for India A at Brisbane in July this year. In fact, it was a double century he scored in the first innings with an unbeaten score of 219 off 250 deliveries while in the second innings; it was 119 off 114 deliveries.

This exquisite performance earned him back his national call for the Test series in England along with reserve wicketkeeper-batsman, Wriddhiman Saha but failed to make it to the playing XI. Although, awaiting his national Test debut, he made sure he continued his brilliance in the Duleep Trophy this year scoring another double-century for Central Zone playing against East Zone in the quarter-finals.

Overall, looking at his performance in First-Class cricket, he has played 103 matches and has scored7,165 runs with an average of 43.42 which includes 17 centuries and 40 half-centuries along with the high score of an unbeaten 219.

Also to be noted is that his wicketkeeping skills are also good enough as his domestic records prove. In  103 matches, he has taken 292 catches and has stumped batsmen out 36 times. No doubt Ojha is a genuine wicketkeeper-batsman India has on their side at present on the tour to Australia.

However, it would be interesting to see if he gets a place in the playing XI with the likes of skipper MS Dhoni and Saha out to compete for the spot.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer)