Strong competition among pace bowlers: Nehra

Published: Sunday, April 4, 2004, 1:20 [IST]
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Lahore:Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, often saddled by fitness problems, on Saturday said the emergence of young fast bowlers like Irfan Pathan and L Balaji had brought about a "healthy competition" in the team.

"Pathan and Balaji have been bowling very well. There is a healthy competition among the pace bowlers and that augurs well for the team," he said in Lahore.

Admitting that it was "frustrating" to come and go out of the team off and on, the 24-year-old Delhi seamer said his niggling ankle injury was "life-long" and he was forced to take in his stride.

"Nobody can do anything about some of the injuries like the cut in the webbing of my fingers. As far as my ankle is concerned, I have had two surgeries so far. The ankle problem will remain life-long, so you just have to go and do the job," said Nehra who joined the squad after a brief injury-lay off.

"(Glenn) McGrath and some of the other fast bowlers have this problem. It is not that I always have the pain, it is an and on and off pain in the ankle. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don't. It is nothing new for a fast bowler," he said.

Nehra felt he was unlucky to miss important matches because of freak injuries.

"I am definitely unlucky. Some of the injuries are not under my control. But it is good to be back in the team. I had a few good spells in the One-day series and I hope I can continue in the same way in the Test matches if I get the chance."

Nehra bowled a brilliant last over to win the first One-dayer for India and was also impressive in the second match during which he split the webbing of his left hand and was consequently ruled out of the remainder of the five-match series.

The bowler still had a plaster on the injury that required three stitches but the Delhi player said it was only a precautionary measure.

"The stitches were removed last week. I have been practicing since then," he said.

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