Kolkata: Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha today said that there’s not much help from the 22-yard strip at the Eden Gardens and the Indian batsmen will be able to eke out a draw under current circumstances. “I think the pitch wasn’t doing much. It was a straight wicket and the outfield is very fast. The batsmen don’t have to do much,” the left-arm spinner said at the post-match conference.
About their chances of a return in the Test, he put up a brave face. “Our guys are quite confident of saving the match. We have a good record on this ground. The way the wicket is playing, I’m quite confident that we would do well. The first session is very important. If we get early one or two England wickets, then the the tail would open out. It’s a very good batting wicket though.”
Ojha conceded that after a certain point of time, he stopped attacking and concentrated on the flow of runs. “I had to bowl to my field without giving them easy runs. Yesterday, I was trying a bit more for early wickets. Then I spoke to myself that I should not be giving easy runs. It’s not about getting defensive. It’s just about not giving easy boundary balls.”
He tried to defend the shoddy show by Ravichandran Ashwin. “We are putting tremendous effort. Myself and Ashwin are trying very hard.”
Bowling coach Joe Dawes’ role has often come under scanner but the youngster said that the Queenslander’s inputs have been useful. “Joe always keeps working with us. He talks about the angles and variation with the crease. He’s good enough He’s got some knowledge.”
Asked why he did not come round the wicket, Ojha said: “Yesterday, I tried bowling round the wicket to Cook but he was easily sweeping the ball. But with the change in angle, it was a bit difficult for him to sweep and more chance to get leg before.”
Ojha said that words of advice from seniors like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag is really helpful. “Viru paaji and Sachin Paaji give us valuable advice and they really come in handy. Even we get a lot of inputs from Duncan (Fletcher).
While both Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have been quicker through the air, Ojha feels that the Indian spinners should stick to their natural game “That’s their natural pace. It’s quite impossible to ask somebody with 80 kmph average speed to bowl at 100 kmph. Our pace is different.”