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Happy Birthday Naman Ojha: A Look at the Career of Flamboyant Wicketkeeper-batsman

Naman Ojha remained on the sidelines and played the second fiddle to the former Indian captain

Naman Ojha remained on the sidelines and played the second fiddle to the former Indian captain

Naman Ojha never quite got out of the shadows of MS Dhoni.

India’s flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha can be easily considered a domestic giant who failed to work his charm at the international circuit. Starting his international career in the same year as Mahender Singh Dhoni has done a lot of harm to Ojha’s cricket career. Throughout his cricket career, Ojha remained on the sidelines and played the second fiddle to the former Indian captain.

Ojha’s big break into the international circuit came during an ODI game against Sri Lanka in June 2010. However, the keeper failed to impress as he lost his wicket after adding a solitary run to the scoreboard. The Ujjain-born never received a second chance to prove himself in One Day format as that was the first and the only ODIOjha played for India.

As far as the purest format of the game is concerned, Ojha received his maiden cap in 2015 against Sri Lanka. The keeper was being seen as a successor ofDhoni. However, he added just 56 runs to the scoreboard in his only Test match and lost the wicketkeeper slot to Wriddhiman Saha.

While the right-hander’s international career never took off, Ojha was a notable personality in India’s domestic circuit. Starting his cricket career at the age of 14, Ojha rose through the ranks to establish himself as a mainstay of the Madhya Pradesh state team. The batsman initially impressed during the 2008-09 Challenger Trophy and since then, there has been no looking back.

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Ojha has played a whopping 146 first-class games, scoring a stunning 9753 runs at an average of 41.7. The 38-year-old has also featured in 143 List A games and 183 T20 matches aggregating 4278 and 2973 runs, respectively, at an average of 32.7 and 20.9. As far as IPL is concerned, Ojha kickstarted his career with 2008-champions Rajasthan Royals during IPL 2009. The batsman had a woeful start as he got out on a duck in the match against Deccan Chargers.

However, Ojha emerged stronger from the initial setback as he has now 113 IPL matches under his belt with 1554 runs at an average of 20.7 and a strike rate of 118.3. The Ujjain-born has played his trade for teams like RR, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Delhi Capitals.

Despite all the odds, Ojha was still hopeful of making a comeback to the Indian set-up but he finally hanged his boots on February 15, 2021, by announcing his retirement.

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first published:July 20, 2021, 09:10 IST