One player who just does not seem to give up on cricket is Aashish Nehra. The fast bowler has had close to 12 surgeries on his body and is still not looking to retire anytime soon from the game. He has always been either in and out of the squad for various reasons but he is still going strong by performing for India in T20s.
He has been around for a long time now and has played under various captains. Here’s a look at the timeline:
Nehra made his debut under the former Indian captain turned fixer, Azharuddin. Though he was still young and precocious, Nehra was a good player for the country back in 1999 and was slowly finding his way in international cricket.
The then 21-year old was just starting out and played his first test against the Sri Lankans. It was after this that he started showing good form.
The one captain under whom Nehra was his explosive best, Ganguly was able to place his faith on the Delhiite who showed him all that he was capable of. The pacer bowled superbly on his debut tour of Zimbabwe, having aided immensely India’s first overseas Test victory.
Nehra was also splendid in the 2003 World Cup as he bowled brilliantly in South Africa and was a major part of the reason India made it to the final in that occasion. He was at his prime and was one of the best bowlers in the world.
Post Ganguly’s tumultuous exit from the squad because of Greg Chappell, Dravid had taken over the team. During this period, Nehra was in and out of the squad with injury and never really managed to cement his place in the squad.
Though he did shine or play well whenever called upon, Nehra’s injury prone nature made it hard for him to play under Dravid too much.
Though Nehra did not feature in any matches under Kumble during his tenure as the captain of the Test squad, the two of them have had massive respect for each other.
During an interview, Kumble even suggested Nehra’s name for the bowling coach of the country as he felt that the Delhi pacer had immense knowledge about the game.
It was under Dhoni that Nehra experienced a renaissance of sorts. After nearly four years out of action, Nehra found himself back in the squad due to an injury to Zaheer Khan. He took full advantage and managed to make himself a frontline pacer for three years.
He even played and won the 2011 World Cup under Dhoni, bowling well against the Pakistanis after having been thrashed versus South Africa. He even played under Dhoni in the IPL for the popular Chennai Super Kings franchise.
The once famous picture of Nehra handing a prize to a young Kohli came full circle as he will be playing under him. Nehra has found his place as a T20 bowler thanks to his immense experience and ability to pitch the ball well.
He has managed to make a long career for himself and is still enjoying every bit of it. He has said that he wants to play until 40 and with a year and a half left, Nehra is still playing fantastically.
By Rohit Nair