5 players who made their international debuts with Ashish Nehra but faded away
One of the last few remnants of the glorious 1990s, Ashish Nehra will bow out of all forms of cricket at the end of the opening T20I between India and New Zealand at his home ground at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on November 1. Although there is considerable doubt as to whether he will take the field in his last match, the left-armer's retirement brings the curtain down on what has been a fairly productive career.
Since playing his first game for India during the 1999 Asian Test Championship, Nehra has represented the country in as many as 163 matches across all three formats and picked up 235 wickets thus far. The 38-year old's extensive career span can be discerned from the fact that he has played under two eras of captains, from Mohammad Azharuddin to Virat Kohli.
In chronological order of their debuts, let us take a look at five players who made their international debuts alongside Nehra, and faded into obscurity soon after. It is pertinent to note that the list also includes cricketers who played their first matches in a particular form of the game in the same series that Nehra made his maiden appearance.
#5 Eric Upashantha (Sri Lanka)
At a time when both India and Sri Lanka were starved of reliable fast bowlers, the two teams threw a pacer each into the firing line during the 1999 Asian Test Championship.
While Nehra was included in the Indian team at the insistence of skipper Azharuddin, the Lankans fielded a rookie, 26-year old Eric Upashantha. The right-armer who generated slippery pace from a deceptive action had made his ODI debut three years before receiving his maiden Test opportunity.
With India winning the toss and opting to bat first, Upashantha was made to toil long and hard under the unrelenting heat by the top-order batsmen. By the time Sourav Ganguly offered a simple catch to Ruwan Kalpage and gifted Upashantha his first Test wicket, the Indians had already racked up a formidable total.
On the other hand, Nehra picked up his maiden Test scalp (that of Marvan Atapattu) early in the Sri Lankan innings. However, the hosts came within touching distance of their opposition's first-innings total, and the Test eventually meandered to a dull draw.
While Nehra played 16 more Tests, Upashantha was able to participate in only one more. The tendency to concede runs aplenty saw the Sri Lankan pacer consigned to the wilderness. The seamer's second Test match also marked his final appearance at the international level.