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They say miracles do happen, and Indian pacer Ashish Nehra is a firm believer of the same. Aprroaching 37; an age where most other cricketers decide to hang up their boots, the wiry pacer was crafting his way to a comeback. He had not played for his country in One-Dayers close to 5 years, after a freak injury deprived him of playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Nonetheless, he kept playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and a few List A games for Delhi to maintain his fitness and get back to the Indian team in limited-overs cricket.

Finally, his persistence paid off as he got a surprise call-up to the Indian team at the beginning of this year for Australia tour. He was picked for the Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), along with other veterans Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina. Nehra, who had almost given up the hopes of ever playing for India again, grabbed this chance with both hands and performed exceptionally well for next couple of months. His dream run saw him play a key role in Australia s whitewash, Asia Cup T20 title and India s run to the semi-final of ICC World T20 2016.

His fairytale return was nothing short of miracle, as he got to live his dream again. Nehra not just led the Indian pace attack, but also played the mentor s role for youngsters like Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami. But, there was a twist in the tale, as Nehra was injured during the IPL after the World T20 and had to miss his team Sunriser Hyderabad s victorious campaign. He underwent a surgery and London and his currently on recovery mode, once again harbouring dreams of making his way back to the Indian team.

Speaking recently to the Times of India, Nehra said: After my two recent surgeries, I was recuperating well and training at the National Cricket Academy when chikungunya struck. I somehow managed to fly back from Bangalore to Delhi in August. The month of September was very painful due to pain in joints. But now I am on the recovery path. I have started to train and would be spending November and December in becoming match fit.

The lanky pacer further opened up on his plans of playing the limited-overs leg of England s tour to India. “My next goal is to achieve full fitness by January next year before the ODI and T20 series against England. I have been playing T20 cricket but am also ready for ODI cricket if the team feels that my services are needed. Thereafter, my next mission would be to play in the IPL 2017 after a few months of training,” Nehra said.

As if the surgery was not enough, he also had to go through chikungunya. But he is recovering well now and has his eye set on return to the field. “Right now, I am enjoying the game and happy with the way I have progressed after two surgeries. I am working hard on my fitness and want to make a comeback for sure. But as I said earlier, I only talk about my short-term goals. If the team and selectors feel I am good enough to serve the country and also help the young bowlers, I am ready to do so,” he said.