Fast bowler likely to return by end of January November 21, 2007

Nehra ruled out for two more months

Cricinfo staff

Ashish Nehra could return in time for the Duleep Trophy starting January 26 © Getty Images

Ashish Nehra, former India and Delhi left-arm seamer, has been ruled out for the next two months of the Indian domestic season after being advised to rest his ankle, which was operated upon recently. He missed Delhi's first two matches of the Ranji Trophy Super League and is likely to return only by the end of January.

"I had gotten my ankle operated during the domestic off-season and have been advised by the doctors to rest it for the next two months till I am fully fit," Nehra was quoted in the Indian Express. "I am sure to play the Duleep and Deodhar Trophies and one-dayers, and the Ranji Trophy knockout matches as well, if Delhi qualify."

Nehra will travel with the team for their fourth- and fifth-round matches against Himachal Pradesh (in Dharamsala) and Maharashtra (in Pune) respectively, and train with the team physio. John Gloster, the Indian team physio, will also work with Nehra during the first Test between India and Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi.

Nehra, among the most injury-prone Indian players in recent times, said he was intent on taking things cautiously to avoid breaking down again.

"I do not want to make the mistake again of playing until I am fully fit," Nehra said. "Not only will that hamper my performance but also aggravate my injury. So I am going to take it light this season and come back the moment I know I am ready."

Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya admitted that Nehra's absence would be felt, yet backed his decision to play it safe. "From a team's point of view even an 80% Nehra is essential for the team, but from an individual perspective I think this is a good decision that Ashish has taken," Dahiya said. "He aggravated his injury last season and this season he has chosen wisely to rest it and recover fully."

Nehra last played for India during the tour of Zimbabwe in 2005. Last season, he took 15 wickets in the Ranji Trophy at 41 runs apiece, and 13 wickets in nine one-day games.