With more and more T20 games being played in modern era, the need for innovation and tactical planning has never been so high. The shorter format of the game always keeps the players on the toes and it is necessary to always be a step ahead of the opponents. The mantra is simple, perform or perish.
Injuries have also increased as the action-packed Twenty20 format takes is seen taking toll on the players. So the need for a mentor, a guide and an expert to help the players physically, mentally, technically and tactically has become the need of the hour. Recently we saw Kolkata Knight Riders rope in former South Africa cricketer Mark Boucher as wicketkeeping consultant in the Indian Premier League.
No wonder there is huge battery of support staff of former players in the shape of coaches helping out players. The likes of Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and Ravi Shastri made for a solid coaching staff for the Indian team.
However, the contracts of these coaches are up for renewal before India's tour of Zimbabwe in June. It is expected that BCCI officials are satisfied with the performance of the coaches and could hand them an extension, but there could be an addition to that list in the shape of Ashish Nehra as the bowling coach for the Indian side, reports The Hindu
Nehra, who made a comeback to the Indian side after almost five years in 2015, has galvanized the Indian bowling attack that performed exceptionally in the recently concluded World T20, Asia Cup and bilateral series against Sri Lanka and Australia.
Even in the IPL, Nehra's guidance has helped the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman forge a solid partnership. Bhuvneshwar has acknowledged Nehra's influence on Sunrisers Hyderabad's impressive bowling performances this season.
"Getting to learn a lot from Nehra. I have played alongside him in the India jersey for one or two months. Now am getting to learn a lot from him in IPL," Bhuvneshwar told IANS. "He is a bowler who keeps sharing his experience with others and that helps a lot. If I do something wrong, he comes up and guides me in the right way and the tip he shares is very helpful. I have enjoyed playing alongside him," Bhuvneshwar added.
Former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who is currently leading Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, was earlier considered front-runner for this job, but the way Nehra has mentored the junior bowlers in the teams he's played has made him one of the contenders for the bowling coach role along with Zaheer.
Ashish Nehra's ability to read the game is what is attracting the interest of BCCI for acquiring his services for the bowling coach role.
36-year old Nehra is still playing T20Is for India so it would be interesting to see whether BCCI considers the coaching option for just ODIs and Tests. India is set to tour Zimbabwe for three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches in June and it seems as if we might get some clarity after the IPL ends.