Naman Ojha is yet another example of the fine talent spotting skills of the Royals’ scouts – another young cricketer given a chance to thrive and grasping that opportunity to the extent that they get a call up to the national team, the ultimate honour for an Indian cricketer. Ojha made his Test debut against Sri Lanka on 28 August 2015.
Before being enlisted by the Royals for the 2009 IPL, Naman had been an unsung performer on the domestic circuit for almost nine seasons. When he left his native Ratlam, a town not known for cricketing exploits, Naman Ojha had just one dream — to play for his country. Thanks to the Royals he achieved that – but they also benefited from having him in the team. In the second IPL the top-order batsman and wicketkeeper opened the batting and played some important innings. He scored two half centuries and hit 11 sixes in the tournament.
He also excelled a year later in IPL3. Two knocks from Ojha showed his ability to raise his game when under pressure. The 49-ball 80 against Chennai Super Kings at Ahmedabad set up a win for Royals - and five days later he produced a scintillating 94 against the same opposition. This time the team lost, but Ojha really left his mark in the unbeaten innings. Ojha went on the record saying that playing in the company of Shane Warne helped him develop a more professional approach to the game. “It is amazing how he continues to motivate everyone on the field. He infuses such confidence that you obviously look at raising your game. All the youngsters in the team have gained so much from watching Warne.”