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When Pragyan Ojha received a special gift for dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in IPL

Ojha Sachin
Aadya Sharma by Aadya Sharma
@Aadya_Wisden 2 minute read

Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha, in an interview with Wisden India, recalled the time he received ‘a special gift’ from his IPL team owner at Deccan Chargers, after claiming Sachin Tendulkar‘s wicket in IPL 2009.

Playing against Mumbai Indians at Kingsmead, Durban, Ojha ended with the Man of the Match award for figures of 3-21, but it was Tendulkar’s prized scalp that resulted in a memorable post-match gift for the left-arm spinner.

“This was in Durban, at a team dinner the night before our game against MI,” Ojha told Wisden India. “Our owner came to me, and the way I was bowling in South Africa, he had a word with me. He is from Hyderabad [the team Ojha represented in Ranji Trophy], [he is] one of the team owners in our local leagues in the Hyderabad Cricket Association system. He knows me right from my childhood. He walked up to me and said ‘Pragyan, if you get Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket, then definitely I’ll have a special gift for you.”

Not letting the opportunity pass, the 22-year-old Ojha, inspired by the words of encouragement, said, “‘Sir, If I get his wicket, I need a watch’. It so happened, the next day, I got Sachin paaji’s wicket and he gifted me a watch.”

Tendulkar, trying to take on Ojha’s canny spin, ended up slicing one straight to Herschelle Gibbs at cover, becoming the first of Ojha’s three wickets. He fell for 36 in the 11th over, with Mumbai losing their way in their 169-run chase and ending on 156.

“It’s a special wicket,” Ojha said, recalling the key dismissal in Chargers’ third straight win that season, which eventually set the tone for their title triumph. “Getting someone like Sachin paaji is a wonderful feeling, one of those wickets that you always dream of getting as a bowler. You feel nice, that you’re good enough to compete with people who have dominated world cricket.”

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