Ashish Nehra, the veteran fast bowler from New Delhi, has been a great endorsement of defying age. The 38 year old pacer is all set to hang his boots and say goodbye to the cricket field reportedly on November, 1 against the Kiwis.
His career has been rather strange in the fact of the matter that Ashish Nehra has not played a Test Match after the year 2004 and played his last ODI in 2011. His career has been a tale of inconsistent fitness as he has found himself bothered by injuries a lot. Yet, he finds his place in the 2017 Virat Kohli T20 brigade. He indeed has been an inspiration for every fast bowler.
In this post, The Cricket Lounge’s Divesh Gill brings to you the best 5 performances by Ashish Nehra aka “Nehra Ji”.
The left arm fast medium bowler has been of high utility to men in blue especially in the limited overs version of the game. All of these top 5 performances have come in high pressure games of important cricketing tournaments! ICC World Cup 2003 is a beautiful chapter in his story. Here’s a reminder of the best exhibitions of cricket from Ashish Nehra
1) 6/23 Against England
It was the ICC WORLD CUP, 2003. It was Kingsmead, Durban when Nehra stormed into the England team’s line up as India was defending a below par score of 250. Ashish Nehra consolidated to perfection upon the early damage caused to the England side by Zaheer and Javagal Shrinath.
He sometimes seamed the ball away from the batsmen and sometimes sprung a surprise by bringing it in and England did not seem to have an answer to this handsome spell of bowling by Ashish Nehra. In his spell of 10 overs Nehra claimed 6 wickets and gave just 23 runs. This is without any contradiction his best display of bowling! 2003 World Cup witnessed the best of this left arm medium pace bowler.
2) 6/59 Against Sri Lanka
In a match between the two neighbours at Colombo in 2005 came the second best performance of Nehra’s career. It was the Final of the Indian Oil cup and Sri Lanka chose to bat first after winning the toss and Ashish Nehra lived up to the expectations of his captain whenever the captain threw the ball to him! Nehra made sure India picked regular wickets! India however, fell short of 18 runs chasing a target of 281.
3) 4/35 Against Sri Lanka
He perhaps took a liking to Sri Lankan batsmen through his career! This time it was Johannesburg, ICC WORLD CUP 2003. Nehra was on a dream run in the 2003 World Cup and it was hard for batsman to survive against his fine seem bowling. India put in to bat first posted a decent target of 292 and Ashish Nehra with Javagal Shrinath made sure that India sealed the victory. He surely enjoyed the company of Javagal Shrinath at the bowling crease!
4) 4/40 Against Sri Lanka
See, we told you that he had a thing for Sri Lankan batsmen! 3 of his top 5 performances come against Sri Lanka. This time it was Dambulla in 2010. It was the final match of the Asia Cup and India had only 268 runs on the board to bowl with.
He took the onus to change India’s fortunes against a handsome Sri Lankan batting line up and made sure that he guided India to clinch the title.
5) 4/47 Against New Zealand
What if we tell you that India got bowled out only for 88 chasing down 288? Well yes, this indeed is a nightmare India would never want to recall. The only good thing for India to pick from this match was the bowling tally of Ashish Nehra.
Like we told you, 4 of these top 5 performances have come under crunch situations like the ICC World Cup or the Asia Cup final and these performances prove the fact that Ashish Nehra, all through his injury hit career, has been of great value for Indian cricket.
We wish you all the best, Nehra Ji.
By Divesh Gill