What’s the story?
He might not have even played in 200 internationals for India, but Ashish Diwansingh Nehra has been an enigma of Indian cricket for 18 years now, with a career longer than any other fast bowler currently in world cricket.
The series of multiple injuries and subsequent comebacks could end soon, as Nehra, 38, is expected to announce his retirement from international cricket soon.
Reports in the Mumbai Mirror suggest that the veteran pacer is putting off his swansong until the New Zealand series, with the intention of bowing out of the game on home soil.
In case you didn’t know…
Throughout his chequered career, multiple injuries have plagued Nehra, who has gone under the knife as many as twelve times to fix his injured body. A veteran of 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20Is, Nehra was summoned by the Indian team for the T20I leg of the Australia series. He had last played for the country against England earlier this year, before being ruled out midway through IPL 2017 with a hamstring injury.
The heart of the matter
Over the past year and a half, Nehra has been sporadically part of the Indian set-up, specifically in his role as a T20 specialist who shares the new ball and delivers tight overs in the powerplay. At 38, however, Nehra’s career can’t extend for long, especially at a time when fitness is a focal point for national selection, and a team is being constructed with the 2019 World Cup in mind.
The Indian team is set to play a T20I at Feroz Shah Kotla, the Delhi pacer’s homeground, and could also mark as the last international appearance of Nehra, who made his first-class debut in 1997/98.
While Nehra was omitted from the team for the first T20I at Ranchi, he might get a look-in at Guwahati, the venue for the penultimate game of the series. If Nehra has made up his mind, the team management would be privy to it, and would want to give the pacer ample time on the field.
A gutsy player who fought admirably despite a fragile frame and debilitating injuries, Nehra became a hit with fans and teammates alike for his laidback and simple way of life. A highly talented pacer who clocked decent speeds in his prime, Nehra, in his late 30s, still managed to bowl in excess of 140 kmph with just the right doses of late swing.
If he does decide to step away from the game, India will lose one of its best left-arm pacers in white ball cricket. However, with a younger pace battery ruling the roost in all formats, the timing seems to be perfectly right.