Fast bowler Ashish Nehra has said that he does not get bogged down by internet jokes on his age. The 38-year-old, who made a comeback into the Indian T20I side for the upcoming three-match series against Australia, also reiterated that he has no time for social media.
Nehra last played for India in the T20I series against England at home earlier this year. He was completely off the radar after suffering a hamstring injury towards the business end of Indian Premier League 2017. The World Cup-winning pacer was also not considered for recent tours to West Indies and Sri Lanka.
The veteran pacer, who still clocks serious pace, revealed he was using the time away from the Men in Blue by working hard for his comeback and not on social media. Nehra added that he was out of the public's radar, but that chief selector MSK Prasad and captain Virat Kohli were aware of his hard work.
"I don't even know what people say about me on twitter. Now, people may have a notion that since I am not visible on social media and now that I am in the team, where was I during the period. Well, I was religiously following my training schedule, working on my fitness, doing my bowling routines. Things you actually do to make a comeback," Nehra told the Press Trust of India on Monday, October 2.
He added: "Oh yes, people didn't know where I was but skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad were well aware what I was doing."
Yuvraj Singh posted this earlier this year
'Never bothered by criticism'
While the likes of Suresh Raina and Amit Mishra were kept out of the team after they failed fitness tests, the selection of Nehra, who is not known for his athleticism, has surprised quite a few.
With the exclusions of Yuvraj Singh and Raina from the Indian ODI squad for the recently-completed five-match series against Australia, the selectors, it was believed, were looking ahead, keeping in mind the 2019 World Cup. However, Nehra's inclusion in the T20I squad is going against the selection panel's policy.
The veteran fast bowler though says he is not bothered by criticism and that he is ready to give it his all in the upcoming series. The Delhi pacer, who has completed 18 years in international cricket, also said he does not play for money anymore.
"Who isn't happy if he is playing for India? I have never been bothered by criticism. The Indian dressing room knows what I bring to the table. The skipper knows it, the selectors know it. If I am in the team, definitely, I must be contributing something," Nehra said.
He added: "Come February 2018, I will complete 19 years in international cricket. Save myself and Harbhajan Singh, I don't think there is any player, who made their debuts under Mohammed Azharuddin. There has to be some kind of motivation that keeps a sportsman going."
"At this stage of my career, I don't need to play for money. I have had 12 surgeries. Ask any sportsman, what it takes to recover from one and here I have been under the knife 12 times. Still in the morning, when I wake up, I am keen to go for training. That's the motivation," he added.