HYDERABAD: There is a popular quote from the ‘Rocky’ movie franchise that goes, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Ashish Nehra epitomises this saying. His career has been hit by numerous injuries and surgeries. Unfazed, he has made astonishing comebacks.
After 18 years of international cricket, he announced on Thursday, ahead of the series-deciding T20I against Australia, that the first T20I against New Zealand on November 1 in Delhi will be his last. He also said that he would not be playing IPL.
“I have spoken to the team management and the chairman of the selection committee, and it cannot get bigger than this that I will retire in front of my home crowd, where I played my first Ranji Trophy game 20 years back,” the 38-year-old said. Getting benched in the first two T20Is might have coaxed Nehra to call time on his career.
“It’s not an overnight decision. I have given it a good thought. I came prepared to be in the XI. And I have observed that Bhuvaneshwar (Kumar) and Jasprit (Bumrah) have been bowling very well in the last 5-6 months.
There are no big events in the next five-six months, like a World Cup. Bhuvneshwar and (Mohammed) Shami have had to sit out in the past when I bowled with Jasprit, but now I think Bhuvneshwar is ready to lead,” the 2011 World Cup winner noted. Fans still remember the left-armer snatching victory from England’s grasp in the 2003 ODI World Cup with career-best figures of 6/23.
Despite the practice of playing in the IPL being the norm among retired cricketers, Nehra made it clear that he would not tread the beaten track.
“Whatever training I do or wherever I play, the ultimate goal has always been to play for India. So, if I decide to leave, then that’s that. I would not play in the IPL.” Responding to a question about plans post-retirement, he said, “Obviously there are opportunities like coaching and mentoring. I am yet to take a call on that.” Nehra played 17 tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20Is.