Few better story tellers in the game than Nehra

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Oct 2017 09:10:05


THE selection of 38 years old Ashish Nehra has created ripples among the Indian cricket fans. 

As always opinion is divided about the selection. Nehra in his usual laconic way has shrugged off the debate and has instead revealed that he will continue to play and enjoy the training that comes with the need to play international cricket.

What he also suggested to those criticising him that his career span of 18 years so far is a fairly long one for a fast bowler and that he will continue playing as long as he is fit and enjoying the training that he needs to do to stay fit. This is a terrific attitude and approach and all those who have come across Nehra will know that it is this never say die attitude that has made him make comebacks when most would have hung up their boots.

Nehra is among the most popular cricketers especially in the Indian dressing room and his sense of humour and his laid back manner of telling stories has everybody in splits.
When he does finally stop playing, a career in television awaits him for there are few better story tellers in the game than him. Just imagine the trio of Nehra, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh in the studio and not just telling you some great Indian team stories but also having a go good humouredly at each other. That will be far far better than some of the stuff that passes off as comedy on Indian televisions today.

The talk in recent times about some of the players left out of the Indian team is that it is because of them not meeting the minimum standards of fitness. What exactly these minimum standards if at all there are any, are has not been fully explained by the authorities so the public is in the dark about it. Some are questioning the omission of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina alluding to the possibility that they did not meet the minimum standards set but are then questioning if Nehra did a fitness test that got him selected.
Transparency in selection means that while it is not mandatory for the selection committee to explain why they selected a player or dropped another it does help those left out to know what they need to do to try get back in the squad.

This does not have to be necessarily done in the public domain and even a quiet chat with the omitted player by the selectors is good enough for him to know what his shortcomings are and where he needs to put more effort in to make a comeback to the team.

Fitness is of course a very important aspect of the game and every team expects its players to be fully fit to do the very best that they can. However sole reliance on just gym fitness as different from match fitness is not the way to go. If that was the case then Rangana Herath would probably not find himself in any team. But give him the ball and he will reel off 25 plus overs in a day for you without any problem and win you matches which is what the sole and primary aim should always be. Every player will have his own fitness regime and while the minimum standards need to be met, to simply say that a player didn’t pass the beep test and so shouldn’t qualify for selection is short sighted.

There is this misconception especially in our part of the world that a slim waist means a fit person. We have examples in the past of those with slim waists cramping up after a scoring 30 odd runs while those with not so slim waists scoring 150 plus in the same game without too much problems about the weather. Quite simply fitness in cricket is about a bowler being able to deliver the overs that his captain wants him to bowl without having any muscular and stamina issues and a batsman batting throughout the 50 overs in a limited overs game or batting the whole day in a Test match without it affecting his scoring.

Ashish Nehra is a wonderful bowler and has given his heart out for India and if he can bowl at his age then the discussion should be not about his age or fitness but about the need to rest bowlers who are supposedly younger and fitter than him.
That actually tells you a lot more about the fitness issue than Nehra’s age does. (PMG)