Naman Ojha Retires But Ready To Play Global T20 Leagues

Naman Ojha Retires From Cricket But Ready To Play Global T20 Leagues

NEW DELHI, INDIA - APRIL 12: Delhi Daredevils wicketkeeper Naman Ojha at ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi on 12 April, 2012. (Photo by Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Naman Ojha, former wicket-keeper got emotional as he struggled to hold back tears on Monday, February 15 while bidding adieu to all forms of cricket, bringing down curtains on a two-decade-long illustrious domestic career.

The 37-year-old keeper from Madhya Pradesh, who holds a distinctive record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in the Ranji Trophy, featured in one Test, one ODI, and two T20 Internationals for India.

File photo of Naman Ojha(Twitter)
File photo of Naman Ojha(Twitter)

Naman Ojha Feels Time To Move On After 20 Years In First Class Cricket

Naman Ojha made his international debut in 2010 in what became his only ODI against Sri Lanka, followed by his first T20I match in Zimbabwe a week later. His lone Test came in 2015 against Sri Lanka in Colombo and the top-order batsman rued not being able to play for his country more.

“I would like to announce my retirement from international and BCCI/MPCA domestic first-class cricket,” a teary-eyed Ojha said in a virtual press conference. “

“After 20 years in first-class cricket and many more during the junior competitions, I feel it’s time for me to move on. It was a long journey and a wonderful phase of my life.”

“I am grateful to all who supported me in achieving the dream of playing for my country and state – my coaches, trainers, physios and selectors, my captains and teammates, my family and well-wishers, and MPCA & BCCI,” he added.

Naman Ojha said he is eager to ply his trade in global T20 leagues. He is now eligible for such leagues, as per BCCI rules, having announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

“While I leave the competitive format of the game for my state and country with the best of memories, I shall be keen to wear the gloves and face the ball in global competitions,” he said.

“I had started facing issues while keeping in the longer format of the game in the past two years. So, if I focus on T20 globally, it will be better for my body.”

“I had a lot of fun in my career. It was a little unfortunate that I didn’t play for India more. Apart from that, I have no regrets,” he said.

The right-hand batsman has been in excellent rousing form in the domestic circuit both with the gloves behind stumps and bat.

In the 143 List A and 182 T20s games he played, Naman Ojha amassed 4,278 and 2,972 runs respectively. Due to his domestic cricket and IPL exploits, he earned his international debut in 2010 in Zimbabwe.

While he lost his place in the side after featuring in an ODI and two T20Is during the series, his form with the willow as he hit successive hundreds, including a double ton during India A’s tour to Australia in 2014 was instrumental in him debuting in Tests in 2015.

His only appearance in Test cricket was in Colombo against Sri Lanka, where he scored 35 and 21 besides taking four catches and effecting a stumping. He thus became Madhya Pradesh’s first Test cricketer since off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan (1993-98).

Naman Ojha: IPL Was A Boon And Gave Stabilization In Career

He was part of the title-winning SunRisers Hyderabad side in 2016 and credited the cash-rich extravagant league for “stabilizing” his cricket career.

“IPL was a boon for us, it gave us a stabilization in our cricketing career. Because if you want to prosper in your cricketing career, you require financial help. IPL gave me that and I used it in the right direction, training, batting, etc and that is why I was able to play Test.”

Naman Ojha IPL 2018 SunRisers Hyderabad
Naman Ojha IPL 2018 SunRisers Hyderabad

Naman Ojha last appeared in a Ranji Trophy match for MP against Uttar Pradesh in January last year. He had captained Madhya Pradesh in that Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match in Indore.

“I have had a wonderful time on field. My unfulfilled dream of winning Ranji Trophy for my state shall pinch me forever. But I see great potential in new generation cricketers who can achieve this with triumphant performances,” he said.

Although Naman Ojha’s international career never took off, the Ujjain-born player has played 146 first-class games notching up 9,753 runs with 22 hundred and 55 half-centuries at an average of 41.67 in a career spanning two decades from 2000-01 to 2020.

Naman Ojha has played 113 IPL matches till 2018 from 2009 scoring 1554 runs averaging a modest 20.72 with 6 fifties and the highest of unbeaten 94. In IPL, he had 64 catches and 10 stumpings. A clean striker of the ball, he featured for Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals).

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