Ashish Nehra reveals how MS Dhoni convinced him to play 2011 World Cup despite injury battles
in the build-up to the World Cup, Ashish Nehra was down with a bad back, and the situation was so bad that he felt it would be better to sit the tournament out and get a replacement on board as quickly as possible.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 17:30 IST
Former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra has revealed how he almost missed the 2011 World Cup but it was MS Dhoni’s words that convinced the left-arm quick to eventually be part of the squad.
Nehra, in the build-up to the World Cup was down with a bad back, and the situation was so bad that he felt it would be better to sit the tournament out and get a replacement on board as quickly as possible. But Dhoni’s suggestion to Nehra changed his mind and eventually, it all worked out well for the fast bowler.
“Before the World Cup, I was struggling with a stiff back so much that at one point of time I thought I won’t play, I’ll leave,” Nehra said on Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry Podcast. “I still remember Praveen Kumar or one other fast bowler got injured and Sreesanth was his replacement. I told MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar that I don’t think I’ll play the World Cup before I was really struggling and it’s better to get a replacement.
“And Dhoni tells me ‘listen, just hang in there for another two-three weeks. See how you feel. Be with the physio, sort it out with him, wait for two-three weeks and then we’ll see how it goes.”
Nehra played just three matches in the World Cup picking up 1/22 against the Netherlands and going wicketless for 65 runs against South Africa. The semifinal turned out to be Nehra’s final ODI in which he picked up 2/33, as India beat Pakistan by 29 runs to secure a place in the final. But unfortunately, Nehra had to miss the summit clash due to a fractured right hand, capping off a roller-coaster of a World Cup for him.
“Then I started playing one game at a time. I played against Holland, had a bad game against South Africa and then missed one. The semifinal comes. I play, we win, I had a good game but again missed the final,” Nehra said.
“I had a massive fracture. They day after the final itself, I left for Australia for surgery. It was very disappointing but it was satisfying as well that we won the final, we won the World Cup. It was a roller-coaster ride for me but in the end, I did manage to land safely.”