Every game is a knockout: Ashish Nehra

Steaming in like a 20-something at his ripe age, the vastly experienced Nehra is now the mentor to the youngsters in the squad.

Bengaluru: At 36, when most cricketers would have hung up their boots, Ashish Nehra is enjoying a sensational renaissance in his career. Lithe, loose-limbed and sometimes languid, the Delhi left-arm quick has proved to be a revelation in the shortest format especially after his stint with the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the IPL.

Steaming in like a 20-something at his ripe age, the vastly experienced Nehra is now the mentor to the youngsters in the squad. It’s pleasing to watch Nehra handle the new ball and the death overs with aplomb; such is the confidence his captain has in him. It isn’t just containment, Nehra, has time and again, provided the breakthroughs.

Refreshingly, the paceman belongs to the breed who call a spade a spade. With one loss and a win and two games to go, India are in a must-win situation from here on and Nehra admitted as much. “We are very confident. This format everybody knows, from game one, more or less every game is a knockout game. Only two teams will qualify, there is possibility out of four games you win three, still you won’t qualify,” said Nehra on the eve of their game against Bangladesh on Tuesday.

“Till the time you don’t lift the trophy, every game is a knockout game, there’s not too much room for error. The kind of cricket we have been playing in the last 2-3 months, we have seen, how many T20s we have played, so hopefully the kind of firepower we have, if we deliver, we’ll definitely win the game.

Over the last couple of years, Bangladesh have transformed themselves from being the whipping boys of Asian cricket to put the fear in their bigger brethren. Playing a brand of fierce and competitive, if sometimes over-the-top cricket, Bangla are not the former pushovers.

“Bangladesh has been doing good, everybody knows. They played the Asia Cup finals with us and especially in this format you can’t take any team lightly. The way Bangladesh have progressed in last 3-4 years is amazing. So we will have to play to our potential to beat a team like Bangladesh. It’s not like you can take it easy.”

At an age where recovery takes time and injuries are a big concern, Nehra is remarkably open-minded about his role in the team. “ I’m enjoying it. This is not the first time that I’m bowling two-three overs in first six or bowling one or two overs in last four – that’s my job, and till the time I’m doing that job, it means I’m right up there, I’m doing whatever is supposed to be done.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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