Top 5 spells by Ashish Nehra in international cricket
A lanky pacer brought up in Delhi, Ashish Nehra possesses all the traits of a genuine left-arm pacer. He made his Test debut in 1999 in Sri Lanka and ODI debut in 2001 in Zimbabwe. Very early in his international career, Nehra became one of the most promising new-ball bowlers in the world, but failed to establish himself as injuries and inconsistency kept pulling him down.
For a bowler who has had 12 surgeries, it’s always difficult to motivate oneself to return, but Nehra made several comebacks to the Indian team, proving his worth almost on every occasion. At 36, when he made a return to the T20I side which toured Australia, it took the world by surprise.
But his performances were as good as anyone, turning out to be one of the best bowlers of the World T20 in 2016. He again made a comeback to the T20 squad recently, but is set to retire after the T20 game against New Zealand on his home ground – Delhi on November 1.
We look at 5 best spells bowled by Nehra in his international career.
#5 3/23 & 2/77 vs Zimbabwe (Bulawayo - 2001)
India toured Zimbabwe in 2001 for a two-match Test series and a tri-series following it. It had been 15 years since India had won a Test outside the subcontinent and the opportunity was ripe to end the winless streak.
A 22-year-old Nehra was on his first tour and was playing just his second international game. He bowled brilliantly in the first innings, taking 3/23 to help India skittle out Zimbabwe for 173. This set-up the match nicely for the visitors, as they went on to gain a handy 145-run lead. Even though Nehra had to toil a bit in the second innings, he picked up the key wickets of Dion Ebrahim and Andy Flower, who had looked in good touch.
In that series, Nehra bowled brilliantly, swinging the ball at pace and troubling the Zimbabwean batsmen. His spells in the first Test helped India end the 15-year wait.