38-year, old Ashish Diwansingh Nehra has by now made up his mind that he doesn’t wish to continue playing anymore and the Kotla match will be his last match, the final competitive match against New Zealand on November 1.
He has been a very eventful career playing for India and his stateside Delhi in domestic cricket. Nehra, who went through phases of highs and lows in his career, But he still he has a good record in all his matches.
He has only one regret as he signs off, Nehra told “Trust me; I have had an eventful 20 years. I am not a very emotional person. The next 20 years is what I am looking forward to. With any luck, it will be as exciting as it has been since I started playing for Delhi in 1997,” during a free-wheeling chat at his academy in Noida.
“It’s been a great journey. Maybe only one regret if I could change anything in these 20 years, that afternoon in Johannesburg during the 2003 World Cup final (where India lost to Australia). But it’s all about destiny and nothing else,” he said with his customary disinterest.
The wiry Delhi pacer made his international debut against Sri Lanka in a Test match in 1999 and then made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2001.
Nehra has his own style of bowling crease, he has a lovely side on action, with a fine wrist position which enables the ball to land on the seam and do a wicked thing.
Nehra had a fine 2003 World Cup in South Africa as he used the hard and seaming wickets to good use. Bowling under lights at Durban against England, taking 6/23 – which still is his best ever ODI figures. In that same tournament, he also had the distinction of bowling a 149.7 km/h ball – which at that time was the fastest an Indian bowler had bowled. Nehra was pushed down the pecking order as India went to Pakistan in 2004 when newcomers like Pathan and Balaji were doing well in their matches.
After pulling out midway from the tour of Zimbabwe in 2005, he had operations on his ankle and back which ensured that he was out of cricket for a long while.
After his recovery from the injury, he was signed up by the Mumbai Indians to play in the inaugural IPL season. And he performed well in the first season and moved to the Delhi Daredevils – his home state – to play in the 2nd edition. That proved to be a wise decision as he produced a brilliant display to end up being the 3rd highest wicket-taker in the IPL with 19 wickets from 13 games.
Nehra played as a spearhead in ODI cricket and was a regular member of the Indian side from June 2009. He was quite consistent until the 2011 World Cup.
He was there in the three matches, which also includes the semifinal against Pakistan in which he injured his finger and unfortunately, has never made it to India’s playing XI since then.
After recovering from his injury, he represented the Pune Warriors in the IPL before moving to Delhi Daredevils in 2013.
Nehra was auctioned 2 crores in 2014 and was bought by Chennai Super Kings, the selectors recalled him for the T20Is against Australia in January 2016. He continued to be part of the Indian team in the 2016 edition of the T20 World Cup at home.
Nehra, started his cricket journey with the Indian team in 1999, in his 18-year-long career he has played:
- 17 Tests
- 120 ODIs
- 26 Twenty20 matches
When questioned…. Will he become the bowling coach of the Indian team if offered the role?
He replied that “There are no such plans as of now. Of course, I will do a bit of coaching and commentary but if you are talking about Indian team, no such thoughts till 2019 World Cup. After that, let’s see what happens.”
People mainly remember him for his match against England in Durban, he scored 6/23, where he hardly put a foot wrong. But can just one night’s performance describe him?
“Sports is nothing but moments. People remember that night. I would like them to remember me as an honest Player. Ek aisa shaqs jisne seekh ke khela nahin par khelke ke seekha (a person, who didn’t learn and play but played and learnt),” he replied.
MSK Prasad who is the Chief selector of team India stated that the selection in the eleven is the sole right of the team management. “Whether he (Nehra) is going to play or not, is clearly the decision of the team management. There are no assurances from our side (selectors), whether he is going to play or not. It will surely be decided by the team management.”
Ashish Nehra was also famously called “one of the best bowlers that the Indian team has ever seen”, by Ravi Shastri. M.S Dhoni also suggested Nehra’s name as the future bowling coach for India considering his massive experience, his ability to easily swing the ball both ways and his bowling under pressure.
On October 12, 2017, Nehra announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after the first Twenty20 International against New Zealand which is set to be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla on November 1.