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The curious case of Nehra

cricket Updated: Dec 15, 2011 00:34 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
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Delhi has been desperately short of pace bowlers this season. No wonder they tried hard to get Ashish Nehra for the game against Bengal at Eden Gardens.

The left-arm seamer's name was on the team list just hours before the team's departure to Kolkata, and the association even booked his tickets.

This despite Nehra informing them three days in advance that he would not be available, the bowler said on Wednesday. His absence was the talking point on Tuesday as Bengal had laid out a seamer-friendly pitch.

"I had made it clear to the captain and coach immediately after the last match that I will not play the final game. My body doesn't permit me to play 2-3 back-to-back days games," said Nehra, who added that if he his body could stand the rigour of four days then he would have made himself available for Test cricket.

"If they included me in the list despite knowing, it is their problem."

When HT contacted Chetan Chauhan, chairman of the selectors, he said he learnt Nehra would not be available due to illness just before the team left. Another selector, Vinay Lamba, said they had been forcing Nehra to play due to injuries to other bowlers. "Unfortunately, we have a couple of bowlers injured this season, so we had to keep asking him to play. We were hoping he'd play."

Coach Sanjeev Sharma said he had expected Nehra would play.

Blisters on toe
But Nehra told the Hindustan Times: "It is just that I got blisters in my big toe because I can't play so many days games. I haven't played a Test in four years." However, he would be in a shape to play the quarterfinals (from Jan 2) were Delhi to qualify.

Delhi have been desperate for bowlers this season. They played an ill Vikas Mishra against Madhya Pradesh and even forced him to travel to Kolkata before the left-arm spinner, suffering from gall bladder stones, pulled out.