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Nehra opens fire- extract from Mumbai Mirror

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
He may sound like he's bragging, but it's worth a read.
Nehra opens fire

What’s so special about Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra asks Ehtesham Hasan in Colombo
In the politically correct world of Indian cricket, with a straight-batted skipper at the head, Ashish Nehra stands out for his brutal honesty. The Delhi left-arm seamer, unlike most of his colleagues, isn’t afraid to speak his mind, neither is the proven performer dying to become the poster-boy of Indian cricket.
In fine fettle right now, the 26-year-old has been the best bowler in the team in the three-nation tournament. In fact, Nehra was the only Indian bowler to have done well against Pakistan in the six-match one-day series last season.
In an exclusive interview with
Mumbai Mirror, he held nothing back.

Excerpts:
Sri Lanka has generally been a good place for you...
Yes, I started my career here and since then, I’ve been to Sri Lanka five or six times. I have a fair idea how to bowl on these wickets.

Are you happy with your form?
I am of the opinion that cricket is a batsman’s game. But only a bowler can win you a match. If you have seen the last two matches, only 200 runs were scored. But nobody noticed that. It’s another thing that we lost the matches, but nobody gave the bowlers any credit.

How do you rate the competition in the team? Would you agree that Irfan Pathan has left the field behind?
I don’t think anybody can take the lead in this game. If you’re saying Irfan Pathan has gone ahead of me, then just look at the last series against Pakistan — he didn’t perform well.
If you review the last three matches, I’ve bowled well. So I can easily say that I’m ahead in the race. I’m bowling first-change and he is been given the new ball. In the last series, he played one match, while I played all the matches and in that one too, his rhythm was bad. Pathan is a bowler who is only effective with the new ball. I’ve bowled with the new ball, first-change and the old ball.
As a senior partner, I’ve had to adjust more than him.

Why is that you have bowled a lot during the death? Do the captains rely more on you in tight situations?
You just said that Pathan has gone ahead… Now you say that the captain looks at me when the chips are down. The media feels that if Pathan has got the new ball then he’s a better bowler than Ashish Nehra! Even Shoaib Akhtar and Allan Donald have bowled first-change in their careers.
As far as my cricketing knowledge goes, if Irfan bowls first-change in place of me, I don’t think he’ll do well. But when I bowl first-change, I take the responsibility of bowling well. You have to look at the team combination. It’s not true that the one who gets the new ball is ahead of the race.

You never seem to be in the limelight despite some good showings?
There are many people around who have done very little but their names have become big. Then there are people like Anil Kumble who have taken 460 test wickets... people who haven’t even scored 460 runs are superstars in the eyes of the people!
Kumble is a player who still sits out of the team and delivers water to players like Venugopal Rao and Suresh Raina in the middle. My role models are not Tendulkar or Ganguly, it’s Kumble. Every body talks about Rahul Dravid as a match-winner, but if you look at the records in the last 10-15 years, no one has been a bigger match-winner than Kumble.
Even today, people take Harbhajan Singh’s name more than his even though Bhajji has not taken half the number of wickets. I’m sure he’ll reach there, but hats off to Kumble who just keeps on going quietly.
At times, I sit and wonder why I don’t get enough credit for my work. If you look at the last Pakistan series there were many who didn’t play. Zaheer Khan and I were the only guys who played. I was the highest wicket-taker in that series. But I never won any praise for my performance. There are some who will not even take half-a-wicket but they earn more praise.

Do you think you’ve been unlucky with injuries?
Every bowler has to deal with injuries, but I’ve had to deal with it in a big way. In the last two or three years I’ve learnt how to live and play with injuries. Whenever I found my self in good shape, an injury was just round the corner. I agree that I’ve missed a lot of cricket, but if you see my records in the last year or so, I’ve taken more wickets than anyone else.
The thing is I don’t look like a top wicket-taker nor would I like to look like one. But whenever I’m given the ball, whether it’s the last over at Karachi or the slog overs in the last series, I never shy away.
For any bowler, bowling from the 15th over to the 35th is easy. But when you are up against Andrew Symonds, Abdul Razzaq or Inzamam ul Haq in the last five overs, it’s different. I think only Zaheer and I’ve been doing that for the last five years.
If Irfan Pathan does that then you can say that he is ahead of us.
extract from Mumbai Mirror

Feedback?
 
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Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
He deserves credit for striking out against the buttering, musking, polish-my-boots scene in Indian cricket. Mumbai Mirror has done well to publish this.
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
GermanShepherd said:
Yeah it would be better if he just shut up and performed.
With everyone getting at his back all the time and saying lots of nice things about Parthiv, Agarkar and Irfan, what he said is just right. Besides, he's trying his guts out in the ODI's he's playing this year.
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
Arjun said:
With everyone getting at his back all the time and saying lots of nice things about Parthiv, Agarkar and Irfan, what he said is just right. Besides, he's trying his guts out in the ODI's he's playing this year.
Once you have dealt with the shock of seeing such views from a current player in print, I must admit, there is more than a grain of truth in some of what he is trying to say.
 

Dasa

International Vice-Captain
SJS said:
Once you have dealt with the shock of seeing such views from a current player in print, I must admit, there is more than a grain of truth in some of what he is trying to say.
Yeah, have to agree with that. It's certainly unusual to see a current player being so brutally honest...
 

viktor

State Vice-Captain
might have been better if he had waited till after tonite to make these comments...
 

Anil

International Coach
wouldn't such statements affect his standing in the team and his relationship with the rest of the team? he can brag right now because he is doing well but both he and zaheer have been extremely inconsistent and the indian bowling attack is currently one of the worst in international cricket....let him remain injury-free and be a consistent performer and pick up his fielding and learn to hold a bat and then he should start bragging....
 

luckyeddie

Cricket Web Staff Member
I think that anyone who places themselves in the hands of the press has to be very, very careful what they say, lest a sound-bite come back to haunt him (*cough*hoggard*cough*giles*cough*).
 

Anil

International Coach
luckyeddie said:
I think that anyone who places themselves in the hands of the press has to be very, very careful what they say, lest a sound-bite come back to haunt him (*cough*hoggard*cough*giles*cough*).
yeah...just because he has been consistent for a tournament and a half doesn't give him bragging rights and the right to put down other team members...he should just shut up and concentrate on performing consistently over a couple of seasons and then if he wants, start talking....

he is clearly jealous of pathan...while he is right that pathan has not proved himself enough to earn all the attention....neither has he....
 

sledger

Spanish_Vicente
tbh i cant see anything productive coming from these rather silly comments, nehra should really just keep quiet and get on with it, after all its not like his performances of late have been anything special.
 

Sanz

Hall of Fame Member
Dasa said:
Yeah, have to agree with that. It's certainly unusual to see a current player being so brutally honest...
..and so stupid. I wish he is kicked out of the team after this series and never selected again. Indian team is better off without characters like him.
 

sledger

Spanish_Vicente
well it wasnt all that long ago when sehwag went off on one to a reporter in similar fashion to this, i assume he however is one such character than india rather than doesnt need can not do without ?
 

Sanz

Hall of Fame Member
Anil said:
yeah...just because he has been consistent for a tournament and a half doesn't give him bragging rights and the right to put down other team members...he should just shut up and concentrate on performing consistently over a couple of seasons and then if he wants, start talking....

he is clearly jealous of pathan...while he is right that pathan has not proved himself enough to earn all the attention....neither has he....
Not a great fan of Irfan but, Irfan made his debut only year and half ago, Nehra made his debut 6 and half years ago.
 

Jono

Virat Kohli (c)
Who the hell rags on their team mates? That's just garbage. Nehra may be bowling well, but seriously why would you go out of your way to make statements like that.

All you Indian fans rejoicing that he's "speaking the truth" need to realise what a team game is, I don't think you'll find Brett Lee come out and say that he should have been in the team ahead of Kaspa for months in the media when he was sitting on the sidelines for ages. You also don't see Kaspa complaining about McGrath when everyone was saying how with McGrath being injured, the Ashes is evened up. That right there is insulting to Kaspa's talents, but you don't see him crying to the media. Now Nehra's back in the team, bowled well in a few tournaments and he's having a go at his team mates publically.

Great, just what Indian cricket needs.
 
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Anil

International Coach
Sanz said:
Not a great fan of Irfan but, Irfan made his debut only year and half ago, Nehra made his debut 6 and half years ago.
i am not a great fan of the indian pace attack altogether....and nehra is just being cheap and petty here....
 

viktor

State Vice-Captain
Anil said:
wouldn't such statements affect his standing in the team and his relationship with the rest of the team? he can brag right now because he is doing well but both he and zaheer have been extremely inconsistent and the indian bowling attack is currently one of the worst in international cricket....let him remain injury-free and be a consistent performer and pick up his fielding and learn to hold a bat and then he should start bragging....
agree totally
 

honestbharani

Whatever it takes!!!
It is one thing for him to say something like " People are not giving me my fair share of attention and praise and it is quite another to say stuff like Irfan doesn't deserve it more than me:
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
While Nehra's comments may be loosely dismissed as bragging, he deserves credit for slamming the mess that's plaguing Indian cricket. It's a perpetual "you scratch my back and I scratch yours" mentality, which hasn't helped them much, as can be seen from just two major ODI victories in five years. For some strange reason, the current crop of Indian players expect to be treated as stars and sadly, they actually are, by fans, mediapersons and even the people that matter.

A few such stars are Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Balaji- the list goes on. What great thing have any of these players ever done? For the team? Yet, they seem to enjoy a very high, holier-than-non-national-players status which shouldn't be questioned. But are they really worthy of that status?

Nehra, on the other hand, has had it rough- be it injuries, loss of form, inconsistency in selection and all the brickbats we hear of so often. But that has not stopped him. He's tried his heart out in every match he is given but doesn't make a big show of it. He just works hard on his game. His ODI form this year has been very good and he's outperformed the 'stars' in nine ODI's this year. He's bowled well in the final overs when he's given a chance. Whatever his captain has demanded, he's done it. Yet, his performances have often been ignored, while all the plaudits are reserved for one-innings wonders such as Irfan, Balaji and Agarkar. Clearly, status has been given a higher priority over performance, which is why we see extras and has-beens play in the side for far too long.

There is a lot of potential in the Indian bowling stocks and anyone who has been watching them would know it. They may not have done much of note, but there can only be good leaders and bad ones. The plans, the selection and the attitude of the people that matter have always been anti-bowler, when you look at the Indian team. Harbhajan was dropped for the match against WI because he didn't bowl well, but why were some of the non-performing batsmen still selected? A similar condition can be noticed in the Indians' tour of the West Indies in 2002- Kumble was dropped from the Test squad because he "couldn't adjust to the conditions", but we don't see a batsman dropped from the side for the same reason. It's not the players who are at fault, but the leadership.
 

Sanz

Hall of Fame Member
Arjun, As ususal your post is full of crap. What Nehra did was more than bragging, he criticized,insulted, questioned his team mates's performance who in not only 5-6 younger/Junior to him but also has clearly outperformed him in Tests as well as ODIs.
 

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