At 37, Ashish Nehra knows he may never play another one-day international or a Test match for India. But the gutsy left-arm seamer, who was recalled to the national set-up after nearly five years, specifically for the World T20, has been on the top of his game nonetheless. (Full Coverage | Points Table)Nehra’s India comeback trail started in Australia in this January and he has been sensational, picking 18 wickets in 15 T20 Internationals. The seasoned left-arm seamer has provided regular breakthroughs with the new ball and has delivered cracking spells at the death end of the innings.Nehra has carried on his good form in the IPL and with nine wickets from eight matches, he has been one of the most consistent bowlers for table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad. (I’ll hit six sixes again, Yuvraj Singh tells cancer survivor )THE GREAT INDIAN MYSTERY Given that India have struggled to find the right mix in their pace department over the years, Nehra’s omission since the 2011 World Cup has been mysterious. In the World Cup semi-final against Pakistan, Nehra’s spell of 10-0-33-2 proved to be one of the turning points. He unfortunately missed the final against Sri Lanka due to a finger injury and had since found it impossible to make it back into the playing XI.”I am surprised I wasn’t picked in the last 4-5 years. My record from 2009 till the 2011 WC shows that I was one of the leading performers. I was injured during the 2011 WC semis, and post that, I was the only bowler who didn’t play for India,” Nehra told the Times of India.advertisement”Even Piyush Chawla and Munaf Patel got a game for the country. Why I wasn’t picked for India during those years is something only the BCCI and selectors can say,” Nehra said.NEHRA LOST IN THE CROWD? India tried an array of pacers after 2011 including Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Pankaj Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat and Vinay Kumar. None of these could leave a lasting impression. Zaheer Khan’s powers as India’s lead seamer started waning but Nehra continued to sit out in the cold.Having staged a successful comeback, Nehra said he does not want to prove anything to anyone and remained confident of success despite his age.”I am not there to silence anybody. When I was picked again, people may have had doubts about me playing at this age, but I had confidence in myself. If you back yourself, no one can stop you,” he said.
The subject of gay players in professional sports has been talked about for decades, but has picked up steam in recent months.Phoenix Mercury rookie Brittney Griner matter-of-factly announced her sexuality in an ESPN interview after four years of keeping it quiet during a record-setting career at Baylor University.Earlier in the offseason, veteran NBA center Jason Collins announced he was gay in an article for Sports Illustrated, and became the first player in any of the four major North American sports leagues to come out. “Fans and the regular public are a lot more homophobic than players, so I one-hundred percent agree with Bruce Arians. I’m glad he had the courage to say that, because a lot of coaches, you know they kiss up to the people, but I respect that.”Missanelli then brought up the fact that many athletes, such as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, have stated that they would have trouble accepting a gay teammate.“I think that those guys should be able to say that if they feel like that,” Barkley responded. “But that don’t mean they can discriminate.” Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share Collins’ announcement fuels the age-old question, “would a gay player be accepted in a professional locker room?”New Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has a definitive answer to that question.“I don’t think the locker room would have any problem with it,” Arians told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The problem would be with the fans. I think especially opposing fans. Some of the things that are said are over the top and out of control that I can imagine what some fans would say to an openly gay player.”Arians brings up a great point. The locker room and home stadium would be more accepting, but the road can be a rough place for any opposing player — even when sexuality is not part of the equation. The reigning NFL Coach of the Year may be one of the few coaches to speak out on the subject, but his comments are being supported by another prominent Phoenix sports figure — former Suns MVP Charles Barkley.In a radio interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, Barkley applauded Arians’ stance on the matter.“A hundred percent agree with that, one-hundred percent, a thousand percent,” Barkley said. “I’ve said many times to a lot of reporters who have never been in the locker room, to a lot of fans who have never been in the locker room, we’ve all played with gay players. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact