India news October 26, 2010

Ashish Nehra ready for Test comeback

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ashish Nehra, one of India's first-choice seamers in the shorter versions of the game, has made himself available for Test cricket, six and a half years since he last turned out in whites at the highest level.

"I had never said that I will not play Test cricket again," Nehra told PTI. "It was just that initially after my comeback, I wanted to concentrate on the ODIs and Twenty20s. Now that I am back in the national side for one and a half years, I feel confident to make a comeback in the Test fold. I will like to make myself available for selection during the South Africa Test series."

A spate of injuries in the mid-2000s pushed Nehra out of the Indian team, but he clawed back into the reckoning with a watershed performance in the 2009 IPL in South Africa, where he stood third in the wickets chart with 18. He has since become a regular in India's ODI plans and sporadically featured in Twenty20 internationals. His susceptibility to injuries, however, has kept him out of the Test team.

Since his international comeback in June 2009, Nehra has played 36 one-dayers, picking 54 wickets at an average just under 30. More importantly, he has not missed a single game due to fitness issues or injuries, and Nehra hopes that he can carry that durability into the longest version. He is headed to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore to follow a fitness program that will prepare him for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

"I am planning to play one Ranji Trophy for Delhi before the New Zealand ODI series to check how my body is holding. I am enjoying my cricket at the moment and I don't see any reason why I can't make a comeback.

"For me the top-most priority is the World Cup next year. That is why I have been so choosy about playing in the longer version. But after World Cup, there is lot of Test cricket to be played as India would be playing against England, West Indies. I will like to again play Test cricket with the same intensity that I used to at the start of my career."

While Nehra is keen to return to Tests, it remains to be seen whether the selectors, who have treated India's fast-bowling talents on a case-by-case-basis, will include him in their plans. Zaheer Khan is currently the only seamer who walks into the side in all three formats, but, of late, he has been used selectively in a bid to prolong his career. Nehra, on the other hand, has slotted well into the one-day side, with his ability to move the new ball and deliver yorkers in the closing stages. Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth, who have been lacklustre in the shorter versions, have been persisted with for Test cricket. Both bowlers have reposed that faith with strong performances in recent times, and Nehra will have to stave off competition from them to enter the Test side.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • aditya on October 30, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Guys nehra has test bowling avg. of 42, not a single 5 wicket haul. No need to get excited about his return in test cricket. He is even worse than Munaf patel as a test bowler.

  • Nataraj on October 28, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Glad to see nehra is fit enough for test cricket.. we can play him in 2nd and 3rd against NZ ahead of sreesanth & Ishanth.

  • DINESH on October 28, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    Showdown prince: You have mentioned about 14 fast or medium pace Indian bowlers. It is great to see that you can remember them everyone. Bacause all of the playing cricket well and continously taking wickets too. In your dictionary who are all fast bowlers? Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhthar, Shane Bond, Mitchell Jhonson, Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, James Anderson etc. etc. Can you say how many of them played for their country continuously 10 tests or even 10 ODIs. Excepting Dale Steyn all had played one Test and 2 ODIs continuously and taken rest for two years due to injury. Dude it is not the pace which matters, it is the wickets. As per your dictionary if Kumble is a fast bowler I agree he is a bowler and taken more than 600 test wickets and not announced retirement in his early 30s like Brret Lee and not like Shoaib Akhthar who could not play even 50 tests in his long international cricket career of 15 years.

  • MIR on October 27, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Ashish Nehra's comeback to TEST erena is good news! but as you all know very well about his FITNESS level (try him in RANJI first) we cannot simply risk him especially before WORLD CUP! as he is one of our best bet of bowling in ODI along with ZAK & PK. I think for South African tour, we should try the left rookie JAIDEV UNADKAT as a surprise package for South Africa! ZAK+ISH+SREE+JAIDEV will be deadly combination in RSA conditions. Lastly, I don't understand what DHAWAL KULKARNI has done wrong for his omission after all his excellent performances for MUMBAI! in RANJI / MUMBAI INDIANS / INDIA A, this guy is also a good batter in lower order.

  • karthik on October 27, 2010, 12:21 GMT

    There are many kids barking in jealous at India being no1...they were not making any noise when Aus was no1. Its the same ICC yardstick used to rank who is no1. I dont think ICC amended any of the rules to promote India to No1. its team India's performance over the years that took them to the top spot. The stats are there with cricinfo...pls check. India does not have a great clean sweep record, but COMPARED TO OTHER TEST PLAYING NATIONS...India's performance is better and thats why we are no 1. Oz ended Windies dominance and now India finished the Aussies...someone will take the No 1 spot India in future...hope this clarifies. Also there are questions on India's inability to produce a real fast bowler....guys, AS LONG AS WE HAVE AVERAGE BOWLERS CAPABLE OF TAKING TWENTY WICKETS....WE ARE OK...our bowlers have won umpteen matches in the last 3-4 years and took our team to No1. So, there is no real worry to have a so called lightening fast bowler in our side. We win matches, thats enough

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    Nehra is good swing bowler for outside india pitches he should consider for SA series

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Ishant, Zaheer, Nehra, Pathan, Perveen, Munaf, Joginder Sherma, Srinath, Persad, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Pankaj Singh, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashok Dinda....and many more....THE INDIANS FAST BOWLERS hahahaha,,,,Before Ishant sharma played his first match, they said he bowled upto 160 kmh aswell and they said praveen kumar bowled 150kmh hahaha.....India could not produce one genuine fast bowler in last 75 or more years. Isn't it pathetic of them or what?? An example that comes to my mind is of Munaf Patel.When he came to the International Arena he could bowl at 145+ . But now after three years he struggles to bowl at 135 on consistent basis. hahah We couldent produce 1 good fast bowler from population of 1 billion lol...most of there so called fast bowler start as medium fast and after 1 year? they turn into spinners pace lool...but i like anil kumble ..he was the only indian fast bowler who never lost his pace hahahhaha

  • joseph on October 27, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    Not a nice idea when players are already performing. It is also better to have a seperate team for test and other as this will give a good rest and also to concentrate in the limited they are given.

  • Sibhi on October 27, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Sreesanth and Ishant are never a Problem for Nehra...... he will walk into the side if he is fit enuf to play... but the world cup in mind this will be a Problem... last thing nehra and we fans need is an Injury... We hardly have any Good Pace bowler.....lets see who we've got....... 1.Zaheer, 2.Praveen, 3.Nehra, 4.Vinay, 5.Dinda, 6.Sree/Ishant ..... Thats is all..... Very Few good Bowlers ... Damn sad for India :(

  • Manish on October 27, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Nehra is suseptible to injuries in the longer ersion of test crcket & he should play a few First class matches before getting ready for Test cricket.

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