India news February 18, 2017

I would love to play in the Champions Trophy - Nehra

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Quick Facts: Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra has expressed a strong desire to make a comeback to India's ODI team. Though he last played in the format in the 2011 World Cup, Nehra has said he retains hopes of playing fifty-over cricket for India again when they land in England in June for the Champions Trophy.

"I would love to play in the Champions Trophy," Nehra told ESPNcricinfo. "When you go to England you will take at least four fast bowlers in addition to two spinners. I know I can bowl anywhere: up front, in the middle overs and at death. I can also share the experience I have with the other young fast bowlers."

Nehra's last competitive fifty-over match - the recent practice game against England notwithstanding - was in December 2015. But that doesn't deter him. He says he has worked out a detailed plan for his comeback, which includes playing at least half of Delhi's six matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, India's premier one-day tournament.

"I aim to play at least three matches to build up my match-fitness. Fifty-overs is a different challenge and Vijay Hazare is a good platform to test myself," Nehra said. "I bowl about eight overs even in the nets while preparing for a T20 match. It is not about fitness. It is about the feel of playing in a 50-over match."

It was Nehra's success in the IPL, initially at Chennai Super Kings and then with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, that brought him back in contention for India in T20 cricket. The selectors could not ignore the key role he played for those teams, keeping it tight with the new ball and bowling yorkers at the death. The confidence gained from a successful reintegration to international cricket is apparent in Nehra. "Once I play these Vijay Hazare matches I will be fit enough to play and good to go for the Champions Trophy."

During his time out of the ODI team, Nehra has maintained form through the IPL © BCCI

Nehra's original timeline had him working towards returning to one-day cricket with the New Zealand series last October but he fell ill and was forced to spend a couple of months on the sidelines.

A match-winning 3 for 28 against England in the second T20I and more recently hauls of 2 for 35 and 3 for 26 for North Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy suggest Nehra has regained his fitness. At 38, he is the oldest active player in the Indian team but that does little to diminish his value. Nehra still bowls at speeds of 135 to 140 kph and his experience - he will complete 18 years in international cricket at the end of February - makes him sort of a father figure for the young fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad, too, has acknowledged Nehra's importance, saying he can be handy in English conditions.

Nehra is hopeful these assets help make him an attractive pick for the Champions Trophy but felt it premature to think as far as the next ICC tournament. "The 2019 World Cup is still two-and-a-half years away. We are going to play at least 50 one-dayers in between. For me every tournament is important. I will try to play as much as I can."

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ash on February 20, 2017, 3:12 GMT

    @Simon Abraham Manthuruthil: I do not think the court will allow Srishanth to play for Indianow. Yes, he is cleared by courts BUT not to play. Court is trying to take politics out of sports including BCCI and then how an active politician can play for India?

  • Ash on February 20, 2017, 2:04 GMT

    @bbnn: Great choice mate. By the time Pandya gets his line and length in England, Champions trophy would be over. He still struggling on his line and length in India after bowling all these years.

  • Lakshminarayanan on February 19, 2017, 17:55 GMT

    Nehra is a good limited over game bowler for sure. Considering WC 2019, its tough to get selected, selectors definitely think younger and inform bowlers. I would love to pick Barinder Sran if he is fit in place of Nehra and Umesh. Bhuvi, Bumrah, Shami, Sran are four fast bowlers must for Champion Trophy. Let Umesh and Ishant concentre on Tests.

  • Sundeep on February 19, 2017, 16:16 GMT

    Champions trophy is a 50 over game. We need fit players unlike T20. If India selects him, he should not play every game.

  • Global on February 19, 2017, 14:35 GMT

    No doubt Ashish Nehra will be excellent bowling option in England... however, where would we hide him on the field? Nowadays the game needs excellent fielders - if they can bowl and bat great then that's a plus, not the other way round.

  • ramraj6102438 on February 19, 2017, 14:07 GMT

    ashish yaar pls retire, you are already 39 , fielding god should help, decent bowler thats it

  • Ahnaf on February 19, 2017, 9:01 GMT

    Nehra's saying that the fans may not like him much..I for one absolutely loved him over the years. His attitude in the field is amazing & he improves as a bowler every single match. Wish he would be part of the CT team & do well.

  • Brishni on February 19, 2017, 8:43 GMT

    Although Hardik Pandya has come a fair way in 1 year he is still not there yet. His lengths are either too short or too full, not the in between good length and he needs to work his batting in swingung conditions. India should not make the mistake that England did by playing too many semi allrounders instead of Specialists. With Jaddu and Ash likely to play it is unlikely India need a 3rd Bowling allrounder. What they do need is a Good Bowler who can get wickets. Bowling attack needs variety. All the below fast bowlers comfortably bowl at or more than 140 kmph. Even Bhuvi when nailing his yorkers! 1. Bhuvi (Swing) 2. Ishant ( Seam and Bounce) 3. Umesh ( Swing ) 4. Shami (Seam) 5. Bumrah (Seam) 6. Nehra ( Left arm angle and Bowling Intelligence)

  • Brishni on February 19, 2017, 8:30 GMT

    Nehra's nous with the ball and his Thought process while bowling will be invaluable. As long as we play Proper Bowlers. Tenember why India won CT 2013 in England : Variety in bowling attack. Ishant (Tall Bounce and Seam), Umesh ( Skiddy and swing at high pace) and Bhuvi( Seam and Swing par excellence).

  • Saurav on February 19, 2017, 6:45 GMT

    @SAMROY India have better pacers than Sran like Bhuvi, Shami, Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and of course Ashish Nehra (if he can be fit to field for 50 overs effectively).

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