Ashish Nehra had every quality that a left arm pacer is supposed to possess – pace, accuracy, ability to move the ball off the wicket and a devastating late inswinger that took the batsmen into surprise. Since retirement from all sorts of cricket, he is acting as the bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore team in IPL. Nehra, from his packed schedule, gave time to CricketSoccer.com for an exclusive interview.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): How is life post-retirement?
Ashish Nehra (AN): I am more engaged with the game now (laughs). Actually, since retirement, I have never kept myself out of the cricketing scenario. I am doing commentary. This is a totally new experience for me. And in IPL, I am working as the bowling coach to RCB. It’s a fantastic experience to work with a bunch of young and energetic fast bowlers. I am relishing the time.
CS: Both you along with Zaheer Khan used to dominate batsmen with the ball in your hand. But since the retirement of both two of you, we don’t see any deserving left-arm seamer to play for India. What could be the reason?
AN: Yes, it’s very true. Lack of left arm pacers is a concern for team India. Left-arm pacers provide a lot of variety in the bowling attack. Just like a right hand-left hand batting combination creates a lot of troubles for the bowling side, similarly, the left arm-right arm bowling combination could be fatal for any batting side. India lacks in this aspect. Unfortunately, I don’t see any young, talented left-arm pacer who can play for the country. Still, I hope a bunch of young and energetic lefties will come and serve the purpose very soon. Let’s hope for the best.
CS: You have played T20 cricket. How difficult is it for a bowler to adapt to a batsman-friendly format, where, even a miss hit may fly into the gallery?
AN: I don’t think T20 cricket is all about hitting sixes and fours. Yes, it’s a batsman-friendly format. But if you have the quality as a bowler, you must overcome all the difficulties. As far as adaptation is concerned, in T20, you get to have more variations. You need to use the knuckleball and wide yorkers to perfection.
CS: What would be your suggestion to a budding pacer who, suppose, has been brutally beaten by a batsman in a T-20 game?
AN: I will tell him to forget the spell as quickly as possible. Personally, I feel you should judge nobody on basis of their performance in T20s. T-20 is an entertainment. I would always tell the younger generation, please dream to represent the country in test cricket. Yes, you play T-20, you play one-dayers, but test cricket is the biggest platform for any cricketer.
CS: Which aspect of modern-day pacers impresses you the most?
AN: These guys are fitness freak. In our days, we also hit the gym regularly. But nowadays, the budding cricketers are going through scientific training. And they are benefited. I had to fight with injuries in my entire career. I feel if we had facilities which the modern day Cricketers get, we would be more effective.
CS: Virat Kohli will be playing county cricket for Surrey ahead of India’s tour to England. Your take…
AN: It’s a fantastic idea. I will admire Kohli’s promptness. He is someone who loves to lead from the front. And undoubtedly, India’s chances in England largely depend on how Kohli do with the bat. Playing for Surrey, he will get accustomed to the English condition and rectify his batting accordingly. I feel it will be a blessing for team India.