Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has recalled an inside story of the match between India and England during the World Cup 2003. In that match, India attained victory because of Ashish Nehra’s masterpiece. But Chopra has revealed the struggle behind Nehra’s performance on the match day. The pacer was badly injured but he decided to play against England.
Sourav Ganguly-led India comfortably defended their 251 runs target against England and won the match by 82 runs. But all thanks to Ashish Nehra’s outstanding bowling. He picked up six wickets, including England captain Nasser Hussain, Micahel Vaughan, Alec Stewart, Paul Collingwood, Craig White, and Ronnie Irani. And became the only Indian bowler to register a six-wicket haul in World Cup.
No one can stop Ashish Nehra: Aakash Chopra
Chopra, in his YouTube Channel, revealed that Nehra was suffering from an injury in his leg. The pacer had a swollen leg but his strong will to play for India against England could not halt him even though the injury could have become worse. Aakash Chopra said that nobody could stop the tall and lanky speedster if he decided to play.
“But wait, you know this story, already right? Let me take you to the flashback, behind the scenes. This heavily swollen leg kept inside a bucket of ice… who is it? This is the same Ashish Nehra who, the very next day, stepped out on the field to rattle England batting unit with a swollen leg. As we say, there is nothing greater than a person’s will. Not even injuries. If Nehra ji has decided that he will play against England, then no one can stop him,” Chopra recalled.
Nehra kept his swollen leg inside the bucket for hours. He taped and bandaged that leg and got ready to play. With the captain’s faith and self-believe, the former cricketer didn’t wonder in Durban pitch.
“So, Nehra filled a buck full of ice and kept his heavily swollen leg inside the bucket for hours. The next day, he heavily taped and bandaged his swollen leg, and wore thick, tight socks. Even though it was even difficult for him to wear his shoes, he still got ready, stood up and went off to the field. With Dada’s faith in him and his self-believe, Nehra Ji achieved wonders which no one expected.
Aakash Chopra said that Ashish Nehra’s unique feat might be broken in the coming years but his passion and not giving up attitude is hard to match.
“Nehra took a 6-wicket haul – a feat which no other Indian bowler has been able to achieve during a World Cup game. The thing to remember here is that the records will continue to be broken. The real story is that of the passion, and not giving up. An injury can affect your body, but not your determination. Long Live, Nehra ji,” Chopra signed off.
As far as the World Cup 2003 tournament is concerned, India faced defeat against Australia in the grand-finale. Ashish Nehra retired from international cricket in 2017 after playing 17 Tests, 120 ODIs, and 27 T20Is for India.