Ashish Nehra opens up on his comeback to the Indian national team
Ashish Nehra, who recently made a long-awaited comeback to the Indian national team after a gap of nearly four years, expressed his delight at the opportunity of playing in the upcoming 2016 ICC World T20 championship to be held in India, Telegraph India reports.
Describing his thoughts about representing India as an “amazing feeling”, the 36-year-old veteran fast bowler also heaped special praise on the Mumbai Indians duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya and also revealed a cheeky description he has coined for the latter.
"For me, playing for India after a gap of four years is an amazing feeling. It is a great feeling to play in any World Cup, and especially when you are playing in India. Hopefully, we can win it this time," Nehra was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
Very much aware of his role in the Indian T20 setup, Nehra said that he is more than willing to be the bowling spearhead entrusted with the responsibility of bowling in the powerplay as well as the death overs. The left-armer made a gentle reminder to the fact that it was the very same qualities that he exhibited for the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings that had opened the door for his international comeback in the first place.
"I would love to do that job. Those are tough overs to bowl, and if the captain wants me to bowl in the first six and final overs, that means I am bowling well. I have done that in the IPL under the same captain (MS Dhoni)."
While a few minutes of football are a regular feature during Indian team’s practice sessions nowadays, Nehra quipped that he gives those sessions a skip in order to avoid any freak injuries.
"I would love to play football with the team, but I have had so many injuries in the past, so I try to keep (the game of) football away from my schedule," Nehra said.
Nehra feels IPL has played a huge part in Bumrah’s success
Much like Nehra, another fast bowler who is reaping rewards for an outstanding performance in the IPL is the young Mumbai Indians pacer Jasprit Bumrah. Nehra joined in the praise the 22-year-old from Gujarat has received following his outings against Australia and said that he is only happy to share his knowledge with India’s upcoming generation of fast bowlers.
"We have some very good young bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Whatever experience I have, I try to pass it on to them," Nehra said.
Singling out Bumrah, Nehra lauded his performances against the reigning ODI world champions.
It is not easy for a young bowler like him to land in Australia and play two days later," Nehra said. "He bowled really well in the last ODI, in Sydney, and continued in the T20s.”
Nehra feels that the experience of playing in the IPL has helped Bumrah become a better bowler, especially in the T20 format.
“The way he bowled in Australia and the way he is shaping up, is great to see. In this format, it is not easy for any bowler. At times, you bowl well but still go for runs. It is a tough format, but it is good for him that he has played for the Mumbai Indians (in IPL) and has that experience of bowling in this format. That's what the IPL gives to young Indian players," he said.
I call him a West Indian guy from Baroda, says Nehra about Hardik Pandya
Nehra also had his say on Bumrah’s IPL teammate Hardik Pandya, who is also making waves with his energy-filled outings for the national team.
“I call him (Pandya) a West Indian guy from Baroda because of his mannerisms and demeanour,” quipped Nehra.
The 36-year-old has high hopes from Pandya and firmly believes that the Baroda youngster has the potential to be India’s batting all-rounder in the longer run, especially in the shorter format.
"He is very comfortable and an easy going guy. He is an amazing talent and a fast bowling all-rounder that India need. I definitely see the potential. If he works hard and everything falls into place, he will be really good for India, especially in one-day cricket," Nehra said.