If Delhi wasn't allocated the match, I would've retired after the Australia series itself - Ashish Nehra hits back at critics
Ashish Nehra, who is set to retire from the sport after the first T20I between India and New Zealand in Delhi, has hit back at critics who had questioned his inclusion in the side for just the one T20I and had stated that 'Nehra has selected himself in the starting XI in his farewell match'. In a no-holds-barred interview with News18, the Delhi-born bowler addressed his critics as 'bade log' and shut them down in style.
"'Big' people were saying Ashish Nehra has selected himself in the starting XI of the Delhi T20I. It's the media's job to sensationalise stuff and pick up controversial things."
Supposedly, the speedster had requested the BCCI to let him make his final appearance in the Blue of India at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium in Delhi, his home ground. Because Nehra wasn't able to make the XI during the T20I series against Australia, questions were raised as to why and on what grounds would he be drafted into the starting line-up in Delhi.
He added that he is not bothered whether he makes the XI and that India will always go in with their best squad in an international match.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I had clarified with the team management that Delhi has been allotted the match, so I'd like to bow out there. Then people were like he was not in the XI against Australia, why would he make the team against NZ. To them, I say that I don't care whether I'm a part of the XI or not, the team management and the selectors know that.
"Whenever India are playing an international match, they'll definitely go in with their best eleven players."
The 38-year-old then revealed that he would have bowed out of the sport after the Australia T20 series itself if Delhi was not allotted the match.
"Now as far as being a part of the XI against Australia is concerned, I've been a regular in the starting line-up (T20I) since making a comeback two years back, so it doesn't make much of a difference to me. (If Delhi wasn't allocated the match) 100% I would've retired after the Australia series. It's just because I have gotten the chance to retire at Kotla that I'm doing it."
Team management to take call on Nehra's inclusion in the playing XI: MSK Prasad
Earlier, chief selector MSK Prasad had also made it clear that Nehra's place in the XI is not guaranteed and the team management will have to take the final call.
"Whether he (Nehra) is going to play or not, is clearly the decision of the team management. There are no assurances from our side (selectors)."