IPL brought my confidence back: Ashish Nehra

prv_9934a_1471913746Ashish Nehra has been one of the many beneficiaries who made their way into national reckoning after doing well in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 37-year-old, who was here for the team launch of Chepauk Super Gillies on Sunday (August 21), spoke on the importance of Twenty20 leagues, his rehabilitation and his new acquisition: a smartphone that allows him to send WhatsApp messages and more. Excerpts:

How is your rehabilitation program coming along?
I was in London for about two-and-half months after my knee surgery and came back to India a couple of weeks ago. I am currently undergoing my rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and have started my running and other training activities.

How can a player remain injury-free especially with the amount of cricket being played today?
Injuries are part and parcel of the game, and as a fast bowler, I have unfortunately suffered so many of them. It all boils down to how a particular player handles his injuries. When I was 17 or 18, we didn’t have the kind of facilities which are available today. Players these days are more aware about their body and there are physios available to help which is a big plus.

How do you view the mushrooming of T20 leagues such as TNPL, KPL among others?
I am in support of these leagues. There are many who would say these T20 tournaments aren’t good for the game and stuff like that, but for me personally, these leagues provide an opportunity to the youngsters to play alongside seasoned campaigners which will ultimately improve their game. That’s not all. Those who do well in TNPL could get an opportunity in bigger leagues and make the next grade, which is playing for Tamil Nadu or even for the national side.

What would you advise bowlers plying their trade in T20s?
Firstly, I don’t give anybody advice. I only offer suggestions. Twenty20 is a fast format and as a bowler you are always under pressure. One has to be smart enough as these leagues provide a great opportunity to showcase your skills. These days I see many coaches telling their wards to learn and then play. I believe it should be the other way round, whether you are 20 or 30, the learning process should never stop.The more you play, the more you learn.

How crucial has the advent of IPL been in aiding your national comeback?
When you do well on a platform as big as the IPL, you are bound to get noticed and that’s what happened with me as well. There are so many international players who may lack confidence but when they play well in IPL. they revel in it. IPL brought my confidence back. Take the case of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He wasn’t bowling at his peak last year but this season for Sunrisers Hyderabad, he bowled well consistently and that helped him regain his confidence.

On a lighter note, do you still use your old Nokia 1100 phone?
(Laughs) No, I don’t. I have got an I-phone and the new thing I have learnt is WhatsApp – that’s as far as I have gone. I still don’t know how to send an e-mail but yes, I know how to send messages on WhatsApp.

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