Dhoni can bring back Ashish Nehra into Indian team




The case of Chennai Super Kings is a peculiar one for it is the only IPL franchise that has played consistent and top class cricket since the first season. However, a team is as good as its players and for some odd reason, anyone who joins CSK automatically starts performing better, be it Dwayne Bravo, Ishwar Pandey, Brendon McCullum or most recently Ashish Nehra. Interestingly, Nehra and Dhoni have a bit of history that most cricket fans must have seen through YouTube or any other social media site.

Ashish Nehra - Chennai Super Kings

Ashish Nehra – Chennai Super Kings

Nevertheless, Dhoni, as a captain, has always cared about one thing and one thing only – winning. Nehra, prior to joining CSK, was a part of Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors but never bowled so effectively. Not only has he taken 17 wickets this season, Nehra has bowled at an economy of just 6.52, which is incredible given the state of wickets and quality of oppositions. That makes you think, can Dhoni bring back Ashish Nehra in the Indian team?

If one looks at the case pragmatically, the decision is not likely to go in favour of Nehra. Indian cricket, surprisingly, is going through an unprecedented phase wherein there is a pool of fast bowlers, all bowling well at the same time. While our existing international line-up comprising Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron is really coming into its own. There are many waiting on the sidelines and making a case for themselves via performances in IPL and domestic cricket, such as Vinay Kumar, Srinath Arvind, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sandeep Sharma and Anureet Singh. For anyone who has been following Indian cricket for a long time, it is a sight to behold and cherish.

So does Ashish Nehra really have a case amidst such young and fit bowlers knocking on the door of the Indian team? Well, he does. Though coming back into the Test side would be out of the question for Nehra, given his fitness and age, the Delhi pacer could be more than useful in the limited over format – particularly T20s.

The first advantage that Nehra has over all these bowlers is that he is a left-arm pacer, which, in Indian cricket, has always been an aberration. Having variety in a bowling attack certainly helps the cause of a team. Excellent examples of this are Australia (Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Faulkner) and New Zealand (Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Mitchell McClenaghan), two teams that ended up being finalists at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Secondly, Nehra has experience, he is putting it good use and performing well. His case becomes stronger when you realise that he has played half of the games in Chennai. Dhoni is a captain and he has used Nehra really well, bowling him in the first five and the last five. Nehra, due to his excellent reading of the game, has bowled really well at the death, something that Dhoni actually needs at the international level as well.

Lastly, like all sportsmen, Nehra might also be harnessing dreams of a glorious swansong and would give his right hand to do so (not the left, he has to bowl with it).

The 2016 T20 World Cup is in India and could well be the last major tournament that MS Dhoni will play in his career. Knowing Dhoni’s penchant for success at ICC tournaments, he would put in all his guts to stop the trophy from going outside India. Dhoni could certainly use Nehra’s experience in critical matches against big line-ups like South Africa and Australia. Though the idea might seem a little far-fetched at the moment, the author would not mind betting on Nehra playing a crucial role in taking India to the 2016 T20 World Cup.

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