Ashish Nehra is an inspiration to many other bowlers that hard work pays off. Nehra made a successful comeback to Indian team, despite a five year absence, to say goodbye at a high.
Now he has joined Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the upcoming IPL 2018, as a bowling coach. He, along with head coach Daniel Vettori, captain Virat Kohli and batting coach Gary Kirsten, will work towards fulfilling the dream of RCB winning the IPL trophy.
Sportstar had a candid chat with Ashish Nehra on life after retirement and the new coaching role with RCB. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Talking about his training after retirement, Nehra said, “I am not training like I used to, I am not doing weights but I do cardio to maintain fitness. I love running. The stomach has come out a bit after retirement as I am having biryanis and parathas at home (laughs). But I need to be fit to play football with the RCB team.”
Talking about the current crop of bowlers, Nehra said, “You have to be mentally strong also. You are going to go for runs. You have to put bad days behind and move forward as every two days, there is a new game and it is a long tournament. Since I played the IPL for 10 years, I will share my experience with the boys. All our bowlers — Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal to name a few — are talented.”
Talking about playing at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Nehra opined, “At times, it is difficult to defend a total in Bengaluru. I have seen teams chase down 190 to 200 easily. It will not be easy for our bowlers. If it is a flat wicket, you have to be mentally strong. The bowlers should keep all the deliveries in their armory ready and they should know which ball to bowl to which batsman. It is all about planning. Every ground, you have to bowl according to the batsman and the ground.”
Talking about his equation with head coach Daniel Vettori, Nehra said, “Daniel has been helping the RCB bowlers as he has been with the franchise for some years now. Chahal spent enough time with Daniel and you can see his confidence today, especially in this format. We are all one set-up. I have been a No. 11 batsman all my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand batting. How will I get the batsman out if I didn’t understand batting? If I see a batsman is not doing a right thing according to me, I should be able to tell him.”
He also revealed behind the scenes hard work Virat Kohli has put in his game, Nehra said, “He is one guy who started working hard at the right time. Every cricketer’s life has a time, if you grab that opportunity, you can go miles. If you miss it, it becomes difficult to reach that level. After 2011, he completely changed his fitness plans. He is not the guy who would score two hundreds and take a backseat in the third game. Not that everybody can score three hundreds back-to-back but he wants to. He doesn’t take things for granted.”
He continued about Kohli and said, “In 2011, he was chubby, in 2013 he became less chubby and by 2015, his face and mine were same (laughs). He is particular about what he eats, and he trains a lot. He has made sacrifices that people haven’t seen, for example, sleeping (and) waking up on time. The result is in front of him. Everybody has talent, but you need to work hard to take the talent to a different level. Kohli has changed, gone up as a player and a person, and he is a mature guy. Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul are also talented. Rahul must be 25, so it is the right time for him to step up. Kings XI Punjab picked him for Rs. 11 crore and shown faith in him.”
Nehra also praised Dinesh Karthik and said, “Karthik has been around for 13 years, but unfortunately, he didn’t manage to play that many games for India. There was competition, but M.S. Dhoni has been so good. But Karthik has the ability. He has all the shots in his bag. He plays spin very well. Skill-wise, he was always up there. But for me, even if he hadn’t scored 29 off 8, he wouldn’t have changed. I don’t like people comparing with Dhoni suddenly after finishing one game. You can’t compare him to somebody who has been doing it for the last 10 years.”
He said that Karthik can be a backup to MS Dhoni, “He can easily play for five or six years but now it is all up to him. He has to keep performing. If there is an ODI or a T20 cricket in England, he will be there. When you go for the World Cup, you need a second wicketkeeper too.”