Abu Nechim hopeful of donning 'Indian jersey one day'

Abu Nechim holds the distinction of being Assam's only representation in the Indian Premier League to date.

Abu Nechim has taken seven wickets in four matches in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

A former under-19 World Cupper and Assam’s only representation in the Indian Premier League, Abu Nechim is enjoying a good run in the Syed Mushtaq T20 tournament, having snapped up seven wickets from four matches at an economy rate of 6.93. 

His two for 25 against Bengal at the Barabati Stadium on Monday was key to Assam's 26-run victory, which catapulted it to the No. 2 spot in Group D behind Karnataka. 

But the 30-year-old pacer is not reading too much into his individual performance, yet. "It can be better. I would say it has been good but not excellent," Nechim says before adding, "But as a team, we have done really well especially in the last two matches. Hopefully, the winning run will continue in the next three games."

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Nechim's story is one of ups and downs. As a budding medium pacer, he helped India pummel England in the under-19 World Cup semifinal in 2006 in Sri Lanka, with figures of four for 14. 

Four years later, he was signed by IPL franchise Mumbai Indians where he stayed for four seasons before switching to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014. He even won the IPL with Mumbai in 2013 and was the 12th man in the team which went on to beat Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash. However, he featured in only two matches that whole season. 

Nechim, who has 12 wickets from 17 IPL games at an economy rate of 8.69, regrets the lack of opportunities. "I think I did not get enough chances even after delivering the best a pacer can. That said, Mumbai had a very experienced line-up of bowlers which made my job even more difficult. 

"You play two games and then you are benched; selection is something that isn't in the hands of a player. You do what you do best, which is pick wickets," he says.  

"(Sachin) Tendulkar, Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh) and Zaheer (Khan) bhai helped me a lot when I was with the team. I feel like my time there helped me become a better death bowler," says Nechim. 

A veteran of 64 first-class matches, Nechim has bagged 167 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 2.97 and continues to harbour hopes of a national call-up. "I've played everything except for the national side. There are fast bowlers who represent their countries late in their careers; I am 30 now but still dream of wearing that Indian jersey one day. On the odd occasion, you have selectors visiting venues to spot talent, maybe if I keep winning games for Assam, I might get lucky," he signs off.