Naman Ojha is one of those handful of unlucky players, who have failed to cement their place in the national team despite being one of the top-names in domestic circuit.
The Madhya Pradesh wicketkeeper-batsman got a call-up from the Indian team for the first time in 2010 for the tour of Zimbabwe after regular wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was rested. Five years later, he made his Test debut in 2015 in India’s third Test versus Sri Lanka at Colombo. This time too he was not the first choice option and was picked in the team after Wriddhiman Saha suffered an injury. In between, he had an impressive tour of Australia with India ‘A’ in 2014, when he scored three successive centuries in as many innings. He also enjoyed two fruitful Ranji seasons in 2013-14, and 2014-15 where he scored over 800 runs in each season. But despite those consistent shows, he failed to become a regular member in the Indian team and his frustration would have only grown after he saw Parthiv Patel getting a call-up from the Indian team after a gap of eight years during the England series last year.
But Ojha, it seems, is now well versed with those snubs. Speaking to the Times of India, the 34-year-old has said he has now stopped thinking about the reason for not getting a call from the national team and is optimistic of performing well in coming days.
“I’m not even thinking about all these at the moment. I have stopped over-thinking. I have realised that it doesn’t help. It only brings frustration. If I keep thinking about why am I not making it to the national side despite being there at the threshold for so long, I will never get big scores even in domestic matches. I have been focusing on my batting and ‘keeping and hopefully will do better in the coming months,” he said.
Ojha’s misery only compounded last year after he was snubbed for the 2016 India ‘A’ tour of Australia ‘A’, for which he was named the captain initially. He went to Australia later to play in the two unofficial Tests but the whole episode had affected his batting as he could score only 21 in two matches. Any hopes of returning to form in the Ranji Trophy was quashed too after he suffered an injury before the start of the season.
“It’s very difficult to remain calm and focused when you go through this kind of situation for so long,” he pointed out.
“It’s almost impossible. But I try to convince myself and practice yoga regularly so that I don’t lose my focus. I haven’t had a good Ranji season as I suffered a side strain and still feel slight pain. At this point in time, my only focus is to bat and keep well and help my team do well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.”
He is currently playing in Vijay Hazare Trophy and would hope to do well before playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).