Injuries marred Ashish Nehra’s career. He recollects that he has gone 12 times under the knife and has screws and nuts in his entire body. His career lasted 18 years, but he couldn’t play as many international matches expected from a player who has had such a long career span, but he surely made many friends and fans in the Indian dressing room itself.
Nehra who played along Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad said in the post-match press conference that he did not want to play on Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s expense. Nehra known for speaking his heart out said that Kumar is ready to spearhead the Indian bowling department now.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been India’s most consistent fast bowler in the recent times and has been able to contain the batsmen and not allow them to score freely against him.
Nehra who retired from competitive cricket after India’s victory in the first T20 against New Zealand at his home ground in New Delhi. Nehra said:
“It was during IPL 2017 that I felt Bhuvneshwar Kumar was ready. His form went up and down until this year’s IPL. But after it, I felt that this is the way forward, that as a bowler I would not like to keep playing at the expense of Bhuvi. If there were a big tournament six months down the line like the World Cup or if I have a plan to play for the next two years, then I have earned this spot,”
If somebody plays better than me, he can take it. It is not as if I was getting any favor by getting selected. You can check my record over the last two years. When I was doing well, I said to Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri that it is not that I don’t want to play. If you need three fast bowlers, I am here, or if Virat says, ‘No, I want you.’ I was available. Even on Wednesday people were wondering if Ashish Nehra will play or not, but if I was in the XI today, I was obviously going to play. I didn’t come here to roam around.”
Talking about his long career marred by injuries, Nehra said:
“When you are young, you think you are the king of the ring. But in the last 7-8 years, I could go to my room and tell myself that, yes I did whatever best I could despite so many injuries. There will be regrets and good moments. Even if you ask Sachin Tendulkar, he might be thinking he could’ve scored another 5000 runs. You’re never satisfied. It’s good to chase your dreams but at the same time, you’ve to be realistic.”
Nehra last played a Test match in 2004, but with so many injuries in his career he focused on the limited over format:
“There was a time in 2009-10 when Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were behind me that you play Test cricket. I said let me play the 2011 World Cup and then I’ll consider. In 2013, I played 5-6 four day games for Delhi. I realised that if I could do that at the age of 34-35, I’m sure I could have done (played for India) that too”
He is now looking forward to passing on the baton to the future generation and wants to share his experience with upcoming fast bowler:
“Now I can pass on my experience to the new fast bowlers. It’s not easy at the age of 39 for a fast bowler to play for India in spite of so many injuries. After 2007-08, I put in a lot of effort. I’ve also seen ups and downs. Sometimes when you are too successful, you don’t know what failure is. Hopefully, my experience will be helpful for youngsters.”