I hope India win the World Cup for Tendulkar: Ojha
Kolkata: With World Cup Trophy being the missing feather from Sachin Tendulkar`s dazzling cap, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha hopes that the tournament favourites India will do it this time as a special tribute to the milestone man.
For 37-year-old Tendulkar, who has scored more than 32,000 runs and 97 centuries in international cricket, it will be in all probability his last chance to lift the Cup.
"I will follow the Indian side. My best wishes are with the team. I hope we win the Cup for Sachin paji. I pray that we do it for him. His contribution to Indian cricket is immense, with World Cup being the only missing feather from his cap," the Hyderabad spinner said.
"What can I say more about the great Sachin Tendulkar. Anything said or written about him will be very less. I will keep it with that," added Ojha, who could not make it to the 15-member World Cup squad and is currently playing in the Duleep Trophy final between North Zone and South Zone.
Emphasising that India are the firm favourites to win the trophy, the South Zone spinner said, "We are the favourites and well prepared for the tournament. We have an excellent side with the likes of Dhoni bhai, Yuvi bhai, Bhajji paji, Yusuf, Raina, and others, who can change the course of the game at any point of time.
"We have got a lot of match-winners in the side. We have some outstanding crickters and we would not have to depend on anyone in particular. The whole team is like a force. We have a great chance to win the World Cup," said the 24-year-old, adding that playing at home would also be a big advantage.
Ojha said Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co are experienced enough to tackle the pressure situation.
"Cricket is religion in India and everyone will be following the matches. But we have matured cricketers who have been playing for quite a long time now. Everyone in the team is smart enough to tackle these pressures."
Speaking about the four-time World champions Australia, Ojha warned that the Aussies could not taken for granted despite their loss of form in the recent past.
"Australia are one of the strong contenders. They always fight back and they do it with ease, which makes them one of the title favourites," said Ojha.
He, however, added that most of the teams in this World Cup are going to be very competitive.
"Every game will be important. Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan, all know the conditions well. They have good spinners who can be really effective in this tournament."
Meanwhile, praising skipper Dhoni, Ojha said: "From personal point of view, I feel he gives you freedom and space to perform. He backs you up and gets the best out of you. That`s why he is so successful."
He further added that Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten compliment each other well.
"He (Kirsten) is an outstanding coach. It`s really nice to have him on board. He understands the players well, takes their feedbacks. I played under his coaching and he has been great."