Former Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra said he disagrees with Virat Kohli’s views that one-day international games are not important during the T20 World Cup year.
Kohli had caused a stir after making that comment after the 3-0 series loss against New Zealand. Nehra feels every game is important.
“I don’t agree with it. If you say that after winning the series then it’s different,” Nehra told former India opener Aakash Chopra during an online chat.
“I feel it’s wrong to say it’s T20 year and the 50-over format doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter then why are you playing it? Are you telling me that the Indian team didn’t try to win those matches against New Zealand?” he added.
The former fast bowler also felt Indian team needed to form a core group of players that will be part of the side for five-six years to be more successful.
“I feel in the last two years, the team management have tried to keep the players on their toes a bit too much. It’s necessary to keep a player on his toes if you feel he is taking a back seat, but there’s been too much chopping and changing in the last two years,” Nehra said.
“You don’t know who will bat a No 5 and 6. KL Rahul is playing there and the man you prepared to take MS Dhoni’s place, Rishabh Pant, is being dropped now. There is a lot of talent in this team but they need to be backed for a longer time,” he added.
After being asked to compare the current Indian team to the great sides of the past, Nehra felt it’s never easy to compare teams from different eras.
“I feel you should not compare teams from different eras. I have heard it on broadcast many times that this team is as good as the West Indian team of the 1970s and the Australian team that won three straight World Cup. To be honest, I feel this team is a long way away from those sides,” he said.
“It’s not as if this team can’t reach there, the team is very good but there needs to be a core group. Right now I’ll only be surprised if Kohli, Rohit Sharma, or Jasprit Bumrah is dropped. I can’t think of a fourth name,” he added.
There’s been speculation over International Cricket Council banning the use of saliva and sweat to shine the ball post the Covid-19 pandemic but Nehra felt there should be experimentation before any new changes are brought to international cricket.
“When you use saliva or sweat the ball becomes heavy on one side that causes it to swing. Right now, it’s all the air. If there is any rule change, you must give the bowlers at least a month to get used to it,” he said.
“We don’t know how the ball will play if we use Vaseline or other substances. It may not swing at all or swing a lot more. I feel there should be no rush to resume cricket and any changes must be well thought out,” he added.
Nehra also did not appreciate the fact that every now and then team combination is being tinkered with.
“It’s not like this Indian team can not reach there but I believe the core group is very important. A person gets confused after watching many dishes on the table and so it’s important to have fewer but better dishes,” Nehra said.
Nehra, who played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 27 T20 Internationals, feels Kohli’s captaincy is still a work in progress.
“Virat Kohli as a player needs no recognition as his career graph tells the entire story. Kohli as a player has done amazingly well. In captaincy, I still feel he is a work in progress. I can say he is a little bit of an impulsive captain,” said the 41-year-old.