Ojha can get six wicket-haul again: Maninder

Former India spinner Maninder Singh believes young Pragyan Ojha can bag another six-wicket haul in the second innings of the Kotla Test if he continues to bowl a nagging line against WI

No Anil Kumble, no Harbhajan Singh. Still nine of the 10 West Indian wickets went to Indian spinners, with six of them to 25-year-old Pragyan Ojha, who is playing his 12th Test. Ojha returned his career-best 6-72 in Test cricket on the second day of the first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla yesterday.

On a high: Pragyan Ojha appeals at the Feroz Shah Kotla yesterday.

Two years into the Test fold, Ojha seemed to have worked out the art of bowling on flat, slow, low pitches. And that's where he made the difference by cleaning up the West Indies batting early in the day. Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh was impressed. He credited the youngster for sticking to a plan.

Maninder Singh

"He has got his plusses, despite limitations, and bowls a nagging line which makes life of batsmen difficult, especially on this sort of a wicket. A bowler like him will always be an advantage on these surfaces," Maninder told MiD DAY after the day's proceedings yesterday. 

Maninder felt Ojha needs to keep his head right in the second essay too. "I won't be surprised if he gets another six wickets in the second innings. The pitch will become slower and lower, so there will be more chances of leg-before decisions. Now, if he can keep the line he bowled in the first innings intact, he is bound to get success," said the 35- Test man.

Maninder (46) advised the youngster to keep bowling to his strength today. "Keep bowling the same line and unsettle the batsmen, which in turn, will pay dividends as the wicket will become even worse as the Test match progresses," he said.

He however was unsure as to what would have been the right combination for the Kotla pitch. "Those days of playing three spinners are gone. Now, we can only play two seamers and two spinners. But I wish our seamers bowled a better line like their West Indian counterparts. Since our seamers failed to deliver, the burden fell on the spinners," Maninder felt.

It's a shame
The former Delhi spinner slammed the track. "Are we heading anywhere by preparing this sort of tracks? It's a shame that we are playing Test cricket on these surfaces. I am sure the Eden Gardens wicket will not be any better. When we are looking for a potent bowling attack, we are and handing them these pitches where it's not possible to judge a bowler -- be it a seamer or a spinner," Maninder lamented.

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