Ashish Nehra has earned the tag of a Twenty20 specialist. The national selectors chose him for the three T20 internationals against England three months ago. It’s unlikely though that they would recall him for ODIs after six years, especially the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in June.
The Indian team across all formats is filled with right-hand pacers. When asked if the selectors would look for a left-arm seamer, Nehra said: “It is not necessary that they would look for a left-arm seamer. And also, it is not that I am on trial. Everybody knows what I can do if I am fit. If the team management, the captain and coach want me and if I am fit, ready and raring to go, then definitely I will play. But it is not that the team is looking for a left-arm fast bowler. So many teams in the past have played with three left-arm fast bowlers or three right-arm fast bowlers. But if you have a left-arm fast bowler it does make a difference. Every team likes variety. We have bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar who can swing the ball or Jasprit Bumrah, who is really good with the old ball. Even for Mumbai Indians he is bowling at one change. If you do well, there is always a scope (to be picked in the national team).’’
For me, recovery is as important as training. If I say it doesn’t make a difference at my age I will be lying. At the age of 38 (he will turn 38 on April 29), not only fast bowlers, but even for a batsman it becomes difficult. You have to put in the extra yards even for recovery or training or practise and that is what I have been doing. I have my routine which I follow and it is helping.
Nehra has played for five franchises — Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad — and he has managed to fit into different team cultures. “As a professional cricketer you have to adapt. Every franchise has a different way of looking at the game or a different set up. If you see all soccer players, every two seasons they play for a different club, so we are used to this.’’
The Delhi left-arm seamer whose career has been hindered by injuries said he has to work hard to keep himself fit. He explained: “For me, recovery is as important as training. If I say it doesn’t make a difference at my age I will be lying. At the age of 38 (he will turn 38 on April 29), not only fast bowlers, but even for a batsman it becomes difficult. You have to put in the extra yards even for recovery or training or practise and that is what I have been doing. I have my routine which I follow and it is helping.’’
Yorker-length deliveries have often been used in the short form of the game, and Nehra said it’s not easy to send down a yorker. “Yorker is one word which I hear in T20 cricket the more and more I play. It is very easy to say, ‘Oh, bowl a yorker!’....and because somebody who has never bowled, he doesn’t know what it takes to bowl a yorker, especially in a ground like Mumbai when the ball is wet. It is very easy to say go and bowl a yorker. If it’s in my hands to bowl good yorkers, I can bowl six. It is not that easy.’’
Nehra echoed an opinion shared by many that the IPL has contributed to World and Indian cricket. “IPL is a big platform, not only for Indian cricketers but also the world’s. It’s done good things for India’s youngsters. Earlier, there used to be a huge difference between India’s domestic and international cricketers. There were so many players I knew who were so good in domestic cricket, but when they came to international cricket, because of the pressure, they could not sustain.”
“IPL has changed all that. There are English or South African or Australian players in the dressing room to learn from. The prime example is Nitish Rana. He hasn’t had a good domestic season, in fact Delhi dropped him. He played around 25 innings without a fifty and the kind of innings he played (against Kolkata Knight Riders) it will definitely give him the confidence. So if you have a left-handed batsman in your squad he can learn so many things from David Warner. And if there is a domestic spinner he can learn from the legend Muralitharan. That makes a big difference. IPL has helped world cricket overall, and definitely Indian cricket. Because the IPL is our own tournament, a lot of domestic players get a chance to be part of it.’’
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