At 36, Ashish Nehra is the oldest member in the India squad for the Asia Cup 2016 as well as the ICC World T20 2016. The left-arm pacer, who made his Test cricket debut in 1999, is still making headlines after close to two decades.
Nehra was included in the 15-man squad list for India for both the upcoming T20 tournaments after some good run of form. He is placed as a key member of the Indian bowling unit. Forging a strong partnership with newbies Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, Nehra is still going strong.
The World Cup win team member was omnipresent for the Men in Blue during their T20I series wins against Australia and Sri Lanka earlier this year.
He took seven wickets from six games this year for India against the Aussies and the Lankan Lions to command respect from the selectors as well as the Indian cricket fans. And now, as the Asia Cup 2016 is just days away, Ashish Nehra is entrusted with an important role by the team management.
"The team management has asked me to guide this [Indian team] bowling group," Nehra was quoted by the Indian Express. "Then again, it's only four overs (per bowler) in T20 cricket, so everyone has to contribute. Everybody can have a bad day, when I have (one), others need to chip in."
Nehra, who was part of the Indian World Cup winning side in 2011, was last seen in a T20I match for India way back in 2011 before he made his much-awaited return to the India side.
The 36-year-old kept on performing, in an effort to get that call once more one day. His performance in the IPL as well as other domestic tournaments were slowly catching the eyes of the selectors, and his 22 wickets in 16 matches performance in IPL 8 convinced the selectors that Ashish Nehra did earn his return to the team.
"It's not easy for pacers to keep performing day in and day out. There will be pressure. You have to keep working hard. I train to play international cricket, not aim to play only domestic cricket," Nehra continued.
The current Indian bowling unit features Bumrah, Pandya (both 22), Pawan Negi, 23, as well as Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, 26. Harbhajan Singh is an experienced customer at 35 too, but it is Nehra who imposes a tall figure in the Indian bowling line-up.
"Being the senior-most bowler, so many (people) have expected me to be the spearhead," Nehra said.
"On the field, I always try to talk to [Jasprit] Bumrah and Hardik [Pandya] and I'm happy to do that job. Everybody has seen what Bumrah and Pandya have done recently. But it's not that I always tell them stuff. I also try to learn from them. It's still a learning experience," he added.