While the result of a match is always of utmost importance, it was not the case when India played New Zealand in the first T20 International in front of a jam-packed Feroz Shah Kotla, as almost every spectator was rooting for the local boy, Ashish Nehra who was playing his final competitive game.
The career which started way back in 1999 never reached the zenith due to a spate of injuries, but Nehra will always be remembered for his perseverance and one of the finest servants of Indian cricket. And the adulation he received from the crowd as well as his own teammates totally showed how highly he is regarded in the Indian cricketing fraternity. Every move made by him was met with a huge roar and one such moment was witnessed when the 38-year old put up his footballing boots for a while during fielding.
Not the quickest of fielders, Nehra surprised the whole stadium including skipper Virat Kohli when he stopped a ball with his foot before catching on to the ball when it ricocheted off the shoe. A pleased Kohli could not stop himself from expressing his delight over that move while Nehra also showed his famous wide-grin after being cheered by everyone.
Here is the video showing Nehra wowing one and all with his football skills:
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 1, 2017
Coming to the game, Nehra went wicketless, but Team India made sure to give the veteran a fitting farewell by thrashing New Zealand by 53 runs. The win, nonetheless, is India’s first over the Kiwis in the shortest format of the game. Batting first, India rode on Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma’s blazing fifties to score a massive 202 for three before restricting the world number one T20I side to 149 for eight.
Nehra, meanwhile, was given a lap of honour by his teammates, as he waved goodbye to the game in front of his home crowd.
Speaking after the game, Nehra said he would call the action before admitting that his injury-prone body will be finally at peace.
“I will miss all this. That’s what you train for. Like I said earlier, one thing that will be in peace is my body. I really pushed myself. I could have pushed for another two months or years, but who knows you can’t get better and bigger than this and it was the right time retiring in blue clothes. I must be one bowler who bowled the most number of last overs for India, but it was different sort of pressure and today was much more comfortable,” said Nehra.
Video of the day: