Well since last 2days, the question has been doing the rounds on why did Nehra even got a match to play for his farewell when legends like Sehwag, Zaheer, Aagrkar, Dravid and Laxman did not even got a farewell match to play. It was also speculated that Nehra used his clout to select himself in the 1st ODI vs NZ. He was not even in the playing XI.
Well, the argument is definately correct that legends who missed their farewell matches deserved it. Sehwag who has 40 International tons out of which 7 are double and 2 are triple hundreds. Zaheer who has over 600 International wickets, Dravid who has played 164 Tests and 344 ODI’s with 25000+ runs, Laxman who is another veteran with 100+ tests and over 8000 Test runs while Agarkar with 288 ODI wickets still remains the top 5 ODI bowlers of India. All this players deserved a farewell match with a standing ovation from the crowd but unfortunately due to some or the other reason, they did not retired while playing. As far as Laxman and Dravid are concerned, they retired without much fanfare and a farewell match on their decision, they were not denied a farewell match. It was only Sehwag who said “I regret i could not retire while playing and the only regret or unfulfilled wish in my life is i did not get a farewell match”
As far as Nehra is concerned, yes he may have used his influence, he may have got the favor from the coach but we should not criticize him. Irrespective of his calibre and records, if he is lucky to get a farewell match, he should be allowed to live his moment.
Some of the Reasons People love Nehraji-
Also sometimes, stats never do the justice. Afridi averaged only 23with the bat but still he was the most loved batsman of Pakistan ever, Shane Bond could play only 18Tests like Nehra and just 82 ODI’s, still he is regarded as amongst the all time best fast bowlers of this generation. Nehra falls into that category, his stats with 120 ODI’s, 18Tests and 26T20’s with over 200+ wickets combined hardly does any justice but when we look at his journey and his conduct, he has been amongst the best.
Ashish Nehra made his debut way back in 1999 under Azharuddin and went on to play under 7 different captains. Hundreds of players and numerous captains came and went, but he is still there playing with each generation.
Also who can forget the fastest bowl bowled by an Indian at 149/kmph against the top batting line-up of England where he took a stunning 6/23 in ICC 2003 World Cup at Durban. In fact it was his bowling in the entire series which helped India reach the World Cup Finals. He was amongst the top wicket takers.
So far Ashish has undergone 7 surgeries in different parts of the body, but still he keeps on practicing with his lanky frame of body just because he has that passion for India. Uusally a player after a single surgery or at the most two surgeries retires from the game as their body and mind both start giving up.
His 6/59 against Sri Lanka in 2005 in Indian Oil Cup was a pure display of swing and pace which no fast bowler of India has able to showcase.
Not a single time in his career of 18yrs, he has been embroiled in any controversies, fights, scandals or penalties.
Ashish Nehra hardly parties or is on social media, he lives a simple life and still has millions of cricket fans loving him because of his simplicity.
Even in his Interview yesterday, he displayed a true sportsman spirit as he said that “my sole aim is to only play for India, i won’t even play IPL, I practice only to represent India, i could have easily played for a year or more, i could have easily played IPL for a one more season but that is not who i am, i want to leave the field on a high, when i am able to play, i also feel that my place is blocking a youngster’s place in the Playing XI and i should give youngsters a chance”
No doubt Nehra was inconsistent, he suffered injuries and lots of injuries, he went under the knife so many times and still survived, despite after 7 surgeries and 32injuries so far in his 18year career, he still bowls with the same sling action at 135 to 140 which is commendable for his age. Nehra was occasional flashes of brilliance but a permanent player who could bring a smile in the dressing room as well as to the Indian cricket fans and that’s the reason we loved him!
Ask any player on who were the players who were the most fun with in the dressing room and maximum players will answer Nehra because of his funny and witty nature, his humble personality and a mentoring attitude as a senior.
We will certainly miss you Nehraji & with this, he becomes the last player from the era of the 90’s to retire from the Indian team.