What’s the story?
Indian left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra has said that he is not thinking as far as the 2019 World Cup and added that his former captain MS Dhoni could also be in the same boat as him.
The 37-year-old, who has featured primarily in India’s T20I scheme of things in the past 15 months, said that the main role of his and Dhoni’s was to provide a sense of calmness to the side and praised the former World Cup winning captain for his ‘amazing cricket fitness’.
"MS Dhoni's cricket fitness is amazing. Me and MS are two guys from different age groups. Our job is to bring a sense of calmness, our experience in this team.
"2019 is too far away and I can't play that far at my age even though I never planned when I was young. Even MS Dhoni who is two years younger to me may not be thinking that far ahead,” he said in an interview.
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Nehra is among the few cricketers remaining in the game, who made his international debut in the 1990s and battling his way through various injuries, the Delhi cricketer has managed to extend his career upto a period of 18 years where he has won a World Cup, a Champions Trophy and featured in the list of the best Indian bowling figures in ODI cricket.
His ability to keep going is a testament to not just his physical fitness, but also his mental fortitude and it will be interesting to see how long he can keep going.
The heart of the story
Nehra had in the past said that he would like to also play a role in the ODI format for India if given an opportunity, citing that he would like to play in the Champions Trophy this year and can also share his past experiences with the next group of players.
While in T20 cricket he has shown that he does possess both the fitness as well as the tricks, what will be important to see is whether his body can take the load of bowling at different points of the game and whether he can indeed bowl 10 overs consistently without much trouble.
For Nehra to stake a claim in the Champions Trophy squad, his showing in the IPL needs to be very good. With a very good crop of young bowlers emerging on the scene, the 37-year-old will really need to show he has the fitness for the long road and if he can do that, then perhaps he could be in consideration for a place in the 15-man squad.
While Nehra maybe right in saying that looking ahead to as far as the 2019 World Cup right now may not be the right way to go, if there is one cricketer, who has the knack of raising his game and spreading that attitude in his fellow teammates in the big events, it is Dhoni.
On several occasions in the past, we have seen Dhoni bring out his A-game to the fore in big events and hopefully, we can see him do that again in the Champions Trophy as well as in the World Cup.