Led Indian bowling attack for three years: Ashish Nehra
Former India pacer and Chennai Super King’s surprise fast bowling spearhead in IPL 8, Ashish Nehra, talked in a recent interview about his contribution to Indian cricket and the unceremonious way he has never been considered to play for the country again after the success of the 2011 World Cup.
In the last match when Nehra represented the country, the semifinal of the 2011 World Cup against Pakistan, the left-arm seamer boasted India’s best bowling figures of 2/33 and the best economy rate of 3.3. He missed the final with a finger injury. Nehra rues how curtains were forced to be brought down unceremoniously on his international career.
“My finger healed in two months and I was 32 then. Now, 49 months have passed and I have turned 36. I’m still waiting. I have chosen to stay out of the news by not giving interviews.
“For three years going into the 2011 World Cup, I was leading our bowling attack and everyone else was bowling around me.”
Between June 2009 and April 2011 — the 22 months leading up to and into the World Cup, Nehra wasn’t just the most successful Indian bowler (he had 65 wickets, followed by Harbhajan Singh’s 47 and Zaheer Khan’s 46), he was the second most successful bowler in the world (four short of Shakib Al Hasan’s 69).
Most don’t make Test debut by 25, I was done by 24: Nehra
Nehra is the joint third-highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps in the ongoing IPL season, and is the bowler trusted with opening and finishing the bowling innings by captain MS Dhoni for the team which has three of India’s five international bowlers – Mohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The 36-year-old veteran of Indian cricket says on a possible international comeback, “If you want to pick Ashish Nehra, then there are 10 reasons to do so, Nehra’s an experienced bowler, he’ll help other guys. Nehra can bowl 10 overs in four different spells, including, crucially, powerplays and at the death. Nehra can even rotate the strike when his batting comes and as a fielder, he does not need to be hidden.
“But if you don’t want to pick Ashish Nehra, there are 10 other reasons. One of them is that he’s too old. ‘He’s 36, man!’ people can say. He can’t bat like an all-rounder. He can’t field in the infield. He is always injured. Actually, there are way more than 10 reasons.”
“Fast bowling is 75 per cent body. And my body is better than ever,” Nehra says. “When I can play till, I can’t say. But whether or not I get to represent India again, I’ll play on.”
“I know I’ll be remembered for Durban, Karachi and for my spate of injuries. But it’ll be nice to be known as the guy who didn’t get a single game more than his due. Less, maybe. But definitely not more.
”Most players don’t make their Test debuts before 25. I was done by 24.”