In an age when things move fast and present becomes past even faster, Ashish Nehra’s comeback to international cricket has been extraordinary.
Out of sight is out of mind, they say. By leading the Indian attack after being out for close to four years, the left-armer has at least defied that saying.
After losing his place in the side due to injuries to both ankles following the tour of Zimbabwe in August-September 2005, Nehra played his first international match in the West Indies last June.
Getting better with each outing, he hasn’t looked back since and in the absence of Zaheer Khan the team looks up to him when it comes to taking wickets with the new ball.
“Close to four years in the wilderness is a long time in today’s cricket. Everybody except for myself, my family and a few friends had written me off, but I never had doubts about my ability.”
“It was just a question of getting fit. Having regained fitness and my place in the Indian team, I have proved many people wrong. It’s very satisfying,” Nehra said on Tuesday after a rigorous training session.
“Despite knowing that I am fully capable of delivering the goods, I was a little edgy when I played my first match on return.”
“After bowling a few deliveries, I knew I was back. Gradually, with the tri-series in Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy, I have got better,” he said.
Twenty wickets in 12 matches since that game with an economy rate of 5.4 shows he hasn’t done a bad job.
“The most gratifying part is that the captain is showing faith in me by giving me the ball when the batting power play period is on.”
“I have invariably bowled two-three overs in these periods and I am loving the responsibility given to me,” said the 30-year-old, who has had two surgeries each on his right and left ankles, the last one in 2007.
Acknowledging that the Indian Premier League provided him the platform to announce his form and fitness, Nehra said bowling against top international players gave him confidence.
“There I was bowling to the likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Yuvraj Singh. That’s the kind of opposition you get in international cricket and once I bowled well against them, I knew I was ready to return to the Indian team.”
That objective achieved, Nehra is looking forward to extending his Test career, which is all of 17 matches.
“Although I have of late been concentrating on ODIs and T20s, given a chance, I would like to play Test cricket again. I’m not pushing myself, just looking forward to bowling well in this series against Australia, hoping that my turn to play Tests will come again.”
Source : HT