Fresh from a hugely successful Test series against the West Indies, India's new spin hero Pragyan Ojha on Sunday revealed that he gained heavily from the tips of Sachin Tendulkar who helped him out with some finer points.
"Sachin always gives you that energy on the field. He advises me all the finer points like how to deceive a batsman. How to deceive in flight... His tips have helped me in getting at least 10-15 Test wickets," Ojha, who is considered a Test specialist, told PTI on Sunday.
"I remembered one sentence by Sachin Tendulkar who would tell me if you love the game, you don't need anything to motivate you. I always wanted to play and that kept me going," Ojha said.
"It was a very important series and a great comeback for me. The important thing was I could contribute to the team's win and played a major role. I knew it would be a very important series for me in a crucial phase of my career," he said.
"I did not play international cricket for about one year. But I never had that negative feeling. I always stayed positive which resulted in this performance."
He termed his county stint as invaluable.
"Even when I was not with the team and played county in England, I would practice with the Indian team touring at that point of time. In fact, Anil bhai played a key role in me getting a chance to play for Surrey. They were looking for an Indian spinner and Alec Stewart had got in touch with Anil bhai who had recommended my name. I'm really thankful to him," he said recalling how his association with Surrey started.
He also believes playing alongside Ravichandran Ashwin since his U-16 days has worked in their favour as the duo combined to take 42 of the 60 West Indies wickets even in the absence of Harbhajan Singh.
"I know him since my under-16 days. We have played a couple of matches together for the South Zone. So there is this element of understanding between us. We knew what we were supposed to do and just stuck to the plans. I try to keep things very simple.
"But I've to keep performing. My coach (Vijay Paul) has told me that never take your place for granted. You have to keep working hard every single day," the left-arm spinner said.
About the tough Australia series beginning on Boxing Day, Ojha said: "Australia series would be a big one. I have never played there and have no idea about the conditions there. I just want to go there and give my 100 percent."
In the final Test, Ojha led the way to force a dramatic Windies collapse taking three key wickets (Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels) which made the final day interesting.
"Yesterday (Saturday) morning, My mind was blank but I was positive. We had a feeling that they may attack us, so it was important to stick to our plans. Thankfully, it worked."
Ojha also hoped the ODI series would be a 5-0 'whitewash' in favour of Virender Sehwag and his boys.
"I pray that it will be a 5-0 whitewash. But this West Indies side cannot be taken for granted. They are a good side and we should not underestimate their potential."
Ojha along with senior statemate VVS Laxman will be playing for Hyderabad in a Plate League match starting from November 29 as he is not playing ODIs.