India news September 30, 2011

Nehra 'deeply hurt' by India snub

ESPNcricinfo staff

Left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra has said he is deeply hurt after being left out India's squad for the first two ODIs against England. Nehra missed the World Cup final with a broken finger, and has been out of action since. However, he has declared himself fit and resumed training, and said that he has submitted the fitness certificate too.

"I still don't know where exactly I've gone wrong after being India's highest wicket-taker in ODIs since my comeback in 2009," he told PTI. "Also, till the Pakistan match in which I fractured my finger, I didn't have any major injury issues."

Since his comeback, Nehra has been MS Dhoni's go-to man during the batting Powerplay overs and when the slog is on in the final few overs. "Please check the records, which India bowler has bowled maximum number of overs at the death in last two years," Nehra said.

Although infamous for his recurring injuries, Nehra enjoyed a fairly consistent run in the team for two years after his comeback, before he injured his finger attempting a low catch from Misbah-ul-Haq in the World Cup semi-final. He did have a rib injury in between, but that only cost him IPL appearances.

The World Cup semi-final against Pakistan, in which Nehra bowled 10 overs for 33 runs and two wickets, has turned out to be his last to date. He fractured the bones of his right fingers in five places and subsequently had to have surgery in Australia that required bone grafts - parts of bone were taken from his wrist and grafted onto his fingers.

He skipped the IPL due to the injury, and was not picked for the ODIs against England in September. "I had submitted a fitness certificate before the ODI series in England," he said. "I was ignored even when they summoned RP Singh from a holiday [as a replacement for Zaheer Khan]." Nehra's fingers are now taped most of the time and the worst of them is bent, but he has been able to bowl at full tilt around four times a week in the last month and a half.

He was not named in the squads for the Challenger Trophy, a domestic tournament featuring India's best one-day talent, which begins on October 10. This, he said, had left him with very little chance of proving form and fitness, and he would rather play limited-overs cricket instead of a full-fledged first-class season, which could take a toll on his body. "You want me to prove my fitness, but then I am not even good enough to be in any of the Challenger Trophy teams.

"Now, if I don't have an option, I might have to pick and choose and play Ranji Trophy. If the board allows it, I can go and play in the Big Bash [Australia's domestic Twenty20] or Pro-40 [South Africa's 40-over competition."