‘IF I AM LEAVING, I WON’T EVEN PLAY IN THE IPL’
NEHRA TO PLAY FAREWELL T20 AT HOME GROUND ON NOV 1 VS KIWIS
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.
“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.
Ashish Nehra did not make the eleven in the first two T20s against Australia.