Pragyan Ojha announces retirement after 13-year career

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has retired from international and first-class cricket, making the announcement on Friday via Twitter. Ojha remembered his “memorable” IPL journey too in a retirement letter he tweeted, effectively putting an end to his career across formats.

“It’s time I move on to the next phase of my life. The love and support of each and every individual will always remain with me and motivate me all the time,” he tweeted.

Ojha played 48 international matches – 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and six T20Is – from 2008 to 2013. In his last game for India, a Test against West Indies in 2013 which was Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell match, Ojha finished with match figures of 10 for 89 and was named the Man of the Match. Overall, he took 113 Test wickets at an average of 30.26, 21 in ODIs and 10 in T20Is at an economy rate of 6.28.

“To be an Indian cricketer and represent the country at the highest level was always a dream I cherished as a youngster,” Ojha said in a letter he posted on Twitter. “I fall short of words to describe how fortunate I have been to have lived, dream and earned the love and respect of my fellow countrymen. For a sportsperson, there cannot be a greater reward.”

Ojha started his domestic career with Hyderabad in 2005 and made his international debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in 2008. In 2015 he left Hyderabad to ply his trade as a professional player in the domestic circuit and represented Bengal in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. In 2017, he returned to Hyderabad, but for only one season before switching to Bihar for whom he played three one-day matches and one first-class game at the end of 2018.

He ended his first class career with 424 wickets from 108 matches at an average of 28.60, with 23 five-fors and three 10-wicket match hauls. In 50-over games he had 123 wickets from 103 games and another 156 wickets from 142 T20s.

In the IPL, he represented Deccan Chargers from 2008 to 2011 and Mumbai Indians from 2012 to 2015. In 2009 he helped the Chargers lift the trophy with 18 wickets, and even ended as the highest wicket-taker in 2010 with 21 scalps, when the Chargers lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third-place playoff.

“My eventful career has witnessed many ups and downs. Over the time, I have realized that the legacy of a sportsperson is not just the outcome of his hard work and dedication, but also the faith and guidance bestowed upon by the association (team management), teammates, coaches, trainers, and the fans. Their belief fills you with a strong sense of purpose and belonging.

“I have been a part of the Hyderabad Cricket Association for close to 14 years, and the incredible experience I have gained will have an everlasting impact. I would like to express my gratitude to all the members of the Association who have supported me through these years.”

Ojha also thanked the Cricket Association of Bengal, the Bihar Cricket Association, the two IPL franchises he represented and many of his former team-mates.

“My humble salute to all my seniors and teammates from whom I draw immense inspiration, and who have helped me to strive to be a better sportsperson. I am very thankful to Mr. V.V.S. Laxman for mentoring me like an elder brother, Mr. Venkatapathy Raju for being the role model I always looked to emulate, Mr. Harbhajan Singh for being a constant adviser and Mr. M.S. Dhoni for providing me with the honorable opportunity to wear the Indian Cap.

“I extend my regards to my contemporaries Mr. Rohit Sharma and Mr. Manoj Tiwary who have shared many eventful moments with me. My Hyderabad teammates – Mr. Amol Shinde, Mr. M.P. Arjun, Mr. Alfred Absolom and Mr.P.S Niranjan have been an integral and inseparable part of my journey. My utmost gratitude to Mr. Arjun Yadav who was the first captain I played under during my Ranji Trophy debut and also Mr. Kanwaljit Singh who coached me during the early phases of my career.

“Lastly, I am certain that looking back at my career will always fill me with a sense of pride. The most memorable moments would be receiving my Test Cap from Mr. Sachin Tendulkar and accomplishing the feat of taking 100 test wickets. I hope to continue contributing towards the growth of Indian Cricket in every capacity possible.”

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