Ashish Nehra did not want to continue playing at expense of Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India pacers Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar both played the first T20 against New Zealand on Wednesday.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 02, 2017 11:36 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ashish Nehra,India vs New Zealand,Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Indian bowler Ashish Nehra (L) retired from all forms of cricket on Wednesday.(AFP)

Ashish Nehra said that he did not want to continue playing at the expense of in-form India medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, moments after retiring from all forms of cricket late on Wednesday.

The first of the three T20s between India and New Zealand was Ashish Nehra’s final match, that too at his home ground of Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi, which the hosts won by 53 runs.

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Nehra, known for speaking his mind, said that it was during this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) he felt that Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who wasn’t a certainty in India’s T20 team for most of 2016 due to poor form -- is ready to spearhead the pace attack in limited-overs.

“It was during IPL 2017 that I felt Bhuvneshwar Kumar was ready. His form went up and down until this year’s IPL. But after it, I felt that this is the way forward, that as a bowler I would not like to keep playing at the expense of Bhuvi. If there was a big tournament six months down the line like the World Cup or if I have a plan to play for the next two years, then I have earned this spot,” said the 38-year-old Nehra.

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“If somebody plays better than me, he can take it. It is not as if I was getting any favour by getting selected. You can check my record over the last two years. When I was doing well, I said to Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri that it is not that I don’t want to play. If you need three fast bowlers, I am here, or if Virat says, ‘No, I want you.’ I was available.

“Even on Wednesday people were wondering if Ashish Nehra will play or not, but if I was in the XI today, I was obviously going to play. I didn’t come here to roam around,” Nehra said.

Have to be realistic

The left-arm pacer, who has played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 27 T20s, said that he is satisfied with himself in spite of several injuries which plagued his career.

“When you are young, you think you are the king of the ring. But in the last 7-8 years, I could go to my room and tell myself that, yes I did whatever best I could despite so many injuries. There will be regrets and good moments. Even if you ask Sachin Tendulkar, he might be thinking he could’ve scored another 5000 runs. You’re never satisfied. It’s good to chase your dreams but at the same time, you’ve to be realistic,” said Nehra, whose international career spanned from 1999 to 2017.

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“There was a time in 2009-10 when Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were behind me that you play Test cricket. I said let me play the 2011 World Cup and then I’ll consider. In 2013, I played 5-6 four day games for Delhi. I realised that if I could do that at the age of 34-35, I’m sure I could have done (played for India) that too.

Pass on knowledge

Nehra is now looking forward to imparting his cricketing knowledge to youngsters.

“Now I can pass on my experience to the new fast bowlers. It’s not easy at the age of 39 for a fast bowler to play for India in spite of so many injuries. After 2007-08, I put in a lot of effort. I’ve also seen ups and downs. Sometimes when you are too successful, you don’t know what failure is. Hopefully my experience will be helpful for youngsters,” he concluded.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 11:26 IST