Dear Ashish Nehra,
While the news of your retirement makes my heart heavy, I am really happy to be part of a generation where I have seen you right from my formative years to being a working professional. I’ll admit, that with the spate of injuries and the kind of competition that exists in the Indian cricket team, I had a feeling that you will not be able to make a comeback. But you proved me wrong. Your story is an inspiration for any athlete, and considering you bring your A-Game despite having 12 surgeries, your story is an inspiration for any person as well.
Who can forget the ten straight overs you bowled to dismantle the English line-up in the 2003 Cricket World Cup? Watching that spell on YouTube after so many years gives me goosebumps. Especially that look of focus in your eyes, and the way you celebrated after each dismissal.
There’s also a video of you shouting at MS Dhoni, telling him, “Itni easy catch nahi pakadte yaar”. We know it’s all for the progress of the team. The tension is high in an India Pakistan match, and we understand how angry one can get if somebody drops a catch that could have dismissed a destructive player like Shahid Afridi. That said, there was no love lost between you and Dhoni because of that incident. Later on, it was under Dhoni’s captaincy that you showed the world that you’ve still got it when you played for CSK in IPL.
Then in the 2011 World Cup, it was a sad thing to see you get injured before the final. But your spell in the semi-finals deserves to be remembered, especially considering that Pakistan were playing like hungry and wounded tigers. Even though you didn’t pick up crucial wickets, your economy rate did create a lot of pressure on the batsmen.
Also, when it comes to giving interviews, you know how to be relaxed and happy. Recently, we saw the Breakfast With Champions interview you did with Gaurav Kapur, and it was one of the most hilarious cricket interviews we’ve ever seen in our lives.
Thank you for the memories Ashish,
I am sure you’ll have a great life outside the cricket pitch as well.