Ashish Nehra    Getty Images
Ashish Nehra could be just the man India’s bowling attack needs Getty Images

Ashish Nehra will appear in India’s T20I colours after five years for the three-match series against Australia starting January 26. Nehra is on the wrong side of 36, but has still managed to find a place in the team following some impressive performances for Delhi and especially for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 and 2015 and Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014. Given the way India bowled in the ODI series against Australia, MS Dhoni will be glad to have a bit of variety and experience in Nehra. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Australia 2015-16, 1st T20I at Adelaide

Watching the Indian pace bowlers in the ODI series one thing was abundantly clear. There is skill and talent in the likes of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Barinder Sran; what is lacking is the intelligence of knowing how and what to bowl at different times in the match. Jasprit Bumrah played just one ODI and bowled wonderfully, but it has been a worrying trend for some time that Indian pacers start with immense promise before suddenly, inexplicably, falling apart. READ: India s top 5 T20I players: Will Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and others combat the loss against Australia?

It happened with Irfan Pathan (though he might have a chance at making it back to the team), perhaps India’s best pace-bowling prospect since Kapil Dev. It happened with RP Singh, VRV Singh (does anyone even remember him these days?), Munaf Patel, and Praveen Kumar. There is a realistic chance of that happening to Bhuvneshwar. From being able to swing the ball both ways at will, he has been reduced to almost a line-and-length fifth-bowler. READ: India must look to the past in order to secure their future

Then there is Umesh, who can send the ball hurtling in at 140-plus kph on a consistent basis and get the ball to swing as well. He has the potential to be unplayable at times, but has as much of a chance to end up bowling short and wide or right in the hitting zone for a batsman. His tendency to bowl well at the start and poorly at the death is a worrying factor. READ: India vs Australia 2015-16 ODI series: Marks out of 10 for the visitors

Ishant looks an improved version of his old self, and actually bowled better than his economy rate suggested. He is a serious contender to lead India’s pace attack, if only he can bowl a few more yorkers at the death. Ishant is still learning despite being nearly a decade into his career, but if the final output can be anything like what we are seeing with Rohit Sharma nowadays, it will have been well worth it. READ: Virat Kohli and the art of the chase

Sran and Bumrah have not played enough international cricket yet to form judgements, but both men look like they are good prospects going ahead. Sran has a deceptive slower ball and Bumrah showed he can produce deadly yorkers, but time will tell how they can adapt to the rigours of the highest level. READ: In Jasprit Bumrah India may have found a death bowler of some class

Given this scenario, Nehra can play the role of mentor and groom this bowling attack for the future. Nehra showed in the recent editions of IPL that despite his age he is still capable of bowling at good pace and hitting consistent lines and lengths, and he will want to show that he is still capable of winning matches for India. India will have a pace bowler who is capable of bowling four crucial overs either at the start or at the death, which will prove invaluable for India given their current pace-bowling woes.

Nehra’s wicket-taking abilities could be just the shot in the arm that India’s bowling attack needs to finally keep the Australian batsmen quiet. One feels Dhoni will have a little less white hair if Nehra can replicate his IPL performances.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)