It’s not fake news, I won’t even play in the IPL: Nehra

Seamer to play farewell T20 in­ter­na­tional at home ground on Novem­ber 1 vs Ki­wis

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Htsport - Ab­hishek Paul ab­hishek.paul@htlive.com

HY­DER­ABAD: In­dian cricket’s ul­ti­mate come­back man Ashish Nehra will no longer re­turn to the na­tional team af­ter Novem­ber 1. The news had al­ready been out a day be­fore, and on Thurs­day the left-arm pacer of­fi­cially con­firmed it with a toothy grin and a brief an­swer — “It’s not fake news.”

Af­ter mak­ing his de­but in an away Test against Sri Lanka in 1999 and then mak­ing in­nu­mer­able come­backs to the na­tional team fol­low­ing in­juries, Nehra has de­cided to hang his boots at Delhi’s Feroze­shah Kotla against New Zealand next month.

“When I told Vi­rat Kohli about my opin­ion, the first thing he said was that you can still play. Then he said you can play IPL. It’s good that peo­ple think I can still play but it’s good to re­tire when you are on a high,” the 38-year-old said ahead of In­dia’s third T20I against Aus­tralia in Hy­der­abad.

“It can’t get big­ger as I will get to re­tire at my home ground where I first played a Ranji game 20 years back.

“I did not take the de­ci­sion overnight. I had given it a good thought. Peo­ple say I can still play in the IPL, but I al­ways trained to play for In­dia. If I am leav­ing, I will leave com­pletely, I won’t even play the IPL.”

BUM­RAH, BHUVI ARE THE FU­TURE

Nehra is part of the squad for the T20I se­ries against Aus­tralia 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 XI. In the last two years I have done that. When I came in this time, I 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 five-six months.

“The most im­por­tant thing is what the dress­ing room thinks. 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.”

IN­JURIES SHAPED 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. 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,” he said.

Nehra, whose 6/23 against Eng­land at the 2003 World Cup was one of the best per­for­mances by an In­dian in the show­piece event, said he was happy play­ing at the do­mes­tic level.

GOOD MEM­O­RIES

“Peo­ple will re­mem­ber you if you do well for the na­tional team but for me, there have been mo­ments in do­mes­tic cricket and 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 2004 ODI se­ries) would be my high points but I don’t think that way. Def­i­nitely for me those are 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 on one par­tic­u­lar per­for­mance.”

With his ca­reer near­ing an end, Nehra hasn’t thought about the fu­ture. “I have my plans ready only till Novem­ber 1,” he smiled.

BCCI

Ashish Nehra did not make the eleven in the first two T20s against Aus­tralia.

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