Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha is one of the handful cricketers, who has played alongside cricketers of the modern and ancient era. Having debuted in 2008, Pragyan Ojha was part of the team when the fab four were at the peak of their powers. The left-arm spinner played his final international game in 2013 when the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were taking giant steps to greatness.
While Pragyan Ojha played all his 48 international games under MS Dhoni, he has singled out a former captain, who helped him in crafting his skill. It is none other than Anil Kumble, who the Orissa-born has credited. The former Test captain is one of the most successful spin-bowlers and is the highest wicket-taker for India in Tests with 619. Meanwhile, Ojha has revealed an interesting piece of information about Kumble.
The retired left-arm spinner claimed that Anil Kumble is an entirely different person on and off the field. The former Indian coach was aggressive not only with the opponents but also with his teammates on the park. And when out of the ground, the prolific leg-spinner was exceptionally gentle.
“When he was on the ground, Kumble used to be very aggressive, both with the opponent and with his own players,” Ojha told Wisden in an interview. “Off the field, you won’t be able to relate. I was taken aback, ‘Am I talking to the same person who I saw on the ground?’ He used to compete hard, but off the field, he was very soft-spoken,” the 33-year-old stated as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] used to be very calm, composed: Pragyan Ojha
The 33-year old iterated his former teammates’ way of dealing with pressures on the field. While he believed that Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni often maintained calmness in their approach, Virat Kohli likes to take the challenge head-on by displaying aggression explicitly. On the other hand, VVS Laxman would listen to hymns before striding out to bat.
“Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] used to be very calm, composed. He never used to give any reaction. He had a different approach. Anil bhai had a different approach. [MS] Dhoni and Kohli, they want to win games for the country, but their approach is completely different.
Someone like VVS Laxman would listen to Suprabhatam [a collection of Sanskrit hymns] and then go and bat. That is his aggression. Someone like a Kohli will be listening to loud, Punjabi music, showing body language – not gestures – and he likes to show he is in your face. It is not wrong in any way, it was just different,” Pragyan Ojha added.