WATCH: Top 5 spells by Ashish Nehra that prove he’s one of India’s finest pacers ever – Nehra is set to play his final international game on November 1 in Delhi. Here’s a look back at his five best spells for Team India.
Ashish Nehra (Getty Images – File Photo)
Veteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra on Thursday confirmed that he would be retiring from all forms of cricket after the opening Twenty20 International of the three-match series against New Zealand, which is to be held at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on November 1.
Nehra said that he has spoken with the Indian Cricket team management and also with MSK Prasad, the chairman of the selection committee, regarding his decision to retire at his home town.
During his 18-year international career, Nehra bowled many memorable spells for India. Plagued by injuries consistently, the left-arm pacer kept reinventing himself and coming back stronger.
Here’s a look at Nehra’s top 5 spells in international cricket
5) 3/23 & 2/77 vs Zimbabwe (Bulawayo – 2001)
On his first international tour with the senior team, Nehra produced fantastic swing-bowling to help his country win its first overseas Test series in 15 years.
Playing only his second international match, Nehra took the wickets of in-form batsmen Dion Ebrahim and Andy Flower and set up a much-awaited victory for India.
4) 2/33 vs Pakistan (Mohali – 2011 World Cup)
After a below-par performance in the league match against South Africa, Nehra found himself on the bench in the quarter-final against Australia in Ahmedabad. The experienced pacer was, however, chosen to take the field in the all-important semi-final clash against Pakistan in Mohali.
Defending a modest 260 in a crunch game against the arch rivals, the Indians had their backs against the wall. But the cup was destined to go to the hosts and Nehra played his part with a top-class spell of 2 for 33 from his quota of ten overs. He didn’t take wickets in his opening spell, but his tight line and length in the middle overs went a long way in choking the run-flow of the Pakistani batsmen.
3) 3/28 vs England (Nagpur – 2017)
After being India’s most successful T20 bowler in 2016, Nehra was pushed to the sidelines due to injury. He made a comeback in the national side in January 2017 for the T20 series against England.
It didn’t take long for the veteran to return to his old form as he put on an exhibition of modern-day fast-bowling. After picking up two wickets and giving away just seven runs in his first two overs, the left-arm pacer came back into the attack and bowled a sensational 17th over. With India defending just 145, Nehra gave merely four runs in that death over and also got the key wicket of Ben Stokes. India went on to win that match and levelled the series 1-1.
2) 6/59 vs Sri Lanka (Colombo – 2005)
Playing a formidable Sri Lankan side in a final in their own den, Nehra produced a spell that showed he was the best bowler from either side. Becoming the only Indian to bag a second six-wicket haul in ODIs, Nehra helped restrict the hosts to 281 on a flat track.
Although India lost the final of the Indian Oil Cup by 18 runs that day, Nehra gave his team a fighting chance with his lethal bowling.
1) 6/23 vs England (Durban – 2003 World Cup)
For Indian cricket aficionados, the sweetest memory of Nehra will always be his spell against England in the 2003 ICC World Cup. He bowled with such fire on that day, that many would argue it was one of the best ever spell of fast-bowling by an Indian.
With Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan taking the new ball responsibility, skipper Sourav Ganguly brought on Nehra in the 13th over of the innings. What followed was a sight for sore eyes. Nehra bowled with venom that was hard to associate with Indian pacers. Clocking over 140 kmph consistently, he made the English batsmen dance to his tunes from ball one.
Coming from over the wicket, Nehra bowled 10 consecutive overs in that match, returning with figures of 6 for 23. Five of his scalps were caught behind, a testament to his impeccable line and length.
India went on to win that match by a 82 runs, cementing its place in the knockouts.