Hyderabad, April 12 (IANS) Former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has revealed Indian Premier League (IPL) side Deccan Chargers (now renamed as Sunrisers Hyderabad) had to brave off-field odds to lift the 2009 title.
Deccan Chargers turned their fortunes miraculously in the 2009 season which was held in South Africa because of general elections in India. After finishing bottom of the table in the inaugural first season in 2008, the Chargers bagged the title in the second edition.
Ojha, who recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, was their highest wicket-taker that season.
“After finishing last in 2008, we didn't have sponsors. Because of late sponsors, you know, when we reached South Africa, we had a limited amount of clothes…training kits. That's when Gilly (Adam Gilchrist) came and told us that all these things don't matter, what matters is once you win the championship, see how things will change. And I'm telling you, once we won, it was totally a different thing,” Ojha told Cricbuzz.
The Deccan Chargers managed 143/6 in the final at Johannesburg. In reply, Ojha (3/28) and Harmeet Singh (2/23) restricted Royal Challengers Bangalore to 137/9 and won the tie by six runs.
“Deccan Chargers were suddenly a different brand. Everybody started looking at us in a different way. You're playing in alien conditions, nobody had a home advantage… nobody expected us to win after how we performed in the first [season]. We were a different team in the second edition,” said Ojha who has played 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and 6 T20Is for India in which he scalped 113, 21 and 10 wickets respectively.
Deccan Chargers had the likes of Gilchrist, a young Rohit Sharma, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds in their ranks but Ojha feels it was the youngsters who excelled under the leadership of Gilchrist.
“Gilly was so balanced. He knew exactly how to absorb pressure from the owners, or external pressure. He soaked in all of it and kept that away from the team and the support staff. Whatever pressure that the team used to face, maybe we didn't do well in some games or whatever, there was pressure from the owners, outsiders, like people not from the 15, support staff, he handled that very well. It was one of our biggest strengths,” Ojha added.