It’s not fake news, retirement not an overnight decision: Ashish Nehra
After making his debut in an away Test against Sri Lanka cricket team in 1999, and then making innumerable comebacks to the national team following injuries, Ashish Nehra will retire at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla next month, after the T20I against New Zealand cricket team.india vs australia 2017 Updated: Oct 12, 2017 19:18 IST
Indian cricket’s comeback man Ashish Nehra will not return to the national team after November 1. On Thursday, The left-arm pacer officially confirmed the news that was doing the rounds a day before. “It’s not fake news,” smile Nehra.
After making his debut in an away Test against Sri Lanka cricket team in 1999, and then making innumerable comebacks to the national team following injuries, Ashish Nehra has decided to hang his boots at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla next month, after the T20I against New Zealand.
“When I told Virat Kohli about my opinion, the first thing he said was that you can still play,” said the he 38-year-old Nehra, ahead of India’s third T20I against Australia in Hyderabad on Friday. “Then he said you can play in the IPL. It’s good that people think I can still play but it’s good to retire when you are on a high.
“It can’t get bigger as I will get to retire at my home ground where I first played a Ranji Trophy game 20 years back,” added Nehra. “I did not take the decision over night. I had given it a good thought. People say that I can play still play in IPL, but I always trained to play for India. If I am leaving, I will leave completely.”
Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar - the future
Nehra is part of the squad for the T20I series against Australia cricket team but has not been able to find a place in the playing XI. His place in the team for the decider on Friday is also under doubt.
“When I came into the series, I was prepared to play. Whenever Ashish Nehra is in the squad, he is ready to be in the playing XI. In the last two years I have done that. When I came in this time, I had straightway told the captain and coach about my plans and about my thought process and they respected my decision,” he said.
“Looking at the way Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah played in the last five to six months, they are ready. Also, there are no World Cup or any big events in the next five to six months.
“The most important thing is what the dressing room thinks about me. Everybody is saying that I can play for one more year. My opinion is that it is better to go when people are saying ‘why’ than when they will say ‘why not’,” added Nehra.
Injuries made my character
Nehra, who had an injury-prone career, always struggled to play at a stretch for the national team. But he always made sure to make a comeback after going through the rehab and playing in domestic cricket.
“For me, the true measure of success is how you bounce back,” said Nehra. “People say ‘you have had 11-12 surgeries, so how can you continue’. But the process of coming back has made me mentally strong and I know it will help me prosper in future as well. Character comes when you are not doing well and then you bounce back.”
Nehra, whose 6/23 against England at 2003 World Cup is one of the best performances by an Indian in the showpiece event, said he was happy playing at the domestic level as well.
“People will remember you if you do well for national team but for me there have moments in domestic cricket and the IPL that I will cherish forever. In international cricket, every day is a memory, every day is a new experience,” he said.
“People would say that the six wickets I took against England or the last over in Karachi (against Pakistan in the 2004 ODI series) would be my high points, but I don’t think that way. Definitely for me those are great memories. But every time a captain thinks I can deliver in the last over is a memory too. Karachi match was not the only last over I bowled, sometimes I won, sometime I lost. So, I can’t pinpoint a particular performance [as my best].”
With his long career finally coming to an end, Nehra hasn’t thought about future. “I have my plans ready only till November 1, the day I will retire,” he smiled.