Fast bowler not to take any chances with fitness March 15, 2006

Nehra fit and prepared for comeback

Cricinfo staff

Injuries and Ashish Nehra have come hand-in-hand for some time now © Getty Images

Ashish Nehra, the Indian fast bowler, has recovered from a back injury and is confident of returning to the national side.

"After undergoing physiotherapy in Australia, I am fully fit now," Nehra told PTI. "I accept that injuries have taken a heavy toll on my career so I would present my fitness certificate to the Board only after I am fully fit."

Nehra, 26, has been dogged by injuries throughout his career. An ankle injury aside, he was forced out of the Test side during India's tour to Zimbabwe in September last year due to a recurring back injury. He has not played competitive cricket since then, and missed home series against Sri Lanka and South Africa as well as the tour to Pakistan earlier this year. He was earlier forced to return home during India's' tour to Pakistan in 2004 due to a freak injury of the webbing in his right hand.

This time around he is not willing to take any chances on his fitness. "I am in no great hurry to get back into the Indian team and want to play a few matches before I get to the international level," Nehra said. "I want to return to the national side only after getting fully fit."

India has unearthed a new pool of fast bowling talent, with names such as Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreesanth, and Munaf Patel in good form, but Nehra remained confident of a comeback. "Munaf, Sreesanth and R P Singh were performing well," he said. "Once I am fully fit and in good rhythm, getting back into the team will not be a problem."

Unable to take part in India's domestic season, Nehra, with 92 one-day international wickets from 72 matches, said he plans to play county cricket in England. "I will play county cricket and will not return to the side without any practice matches," he said. "It may take 4-5 weeks to get into rhythm. That should take me to mid-April when I would be totally fit."

Nehra's biggest success in one-day cricket came against England in the 2003 World Cup, when he picked up 6 for 23 to script a thrilling win. Nehra, however, did not wish to speculate about a shot at next year's edition in the West Indies. "The World Cup is a full year away. I cannot predict anything but will try my best," he said. "As a player, my whole concentration is on the match, regardless of whether it is in the World Cup or some other tournament."