Ashish Nehra, the veteran Indian pacer, made official his decision to retire from all forms of cricket on Thursday (October 12), a day before the third and decisive Twenty20 International against Australia in Hyderabad.
Nehra, as reported on Wednesday, will hang up his boots after the first T20I against New Zealand, scheduled to be played at his home ground at the Feroz Shah Kotla on November 1.
“It is my own decision, I have spoken to the team management as well as the chairman of selection committee. I’m really lucky, it can’t get bigger than getting to retire in front of your home crowd,” said Nehra.
Nehra, 38, made his international debut in 1999 under Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy in a Test match against Sri Lanka at Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo, and has represented the country in 17 Tests, 120 One-Day Internationals and 26 T20Is. He has picked 44 Test wickets, along with 157 ODI and 34 T20I wickets.
He found great success in ODIs during the course of what was an injury-plagued career, and will be best remembered for his spell of 6 for 23 against England in the 2003 World Cup, a match he played despite being unwell.
He was also a part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad and put in a match-turning performance in the semifinal against Pakistan with returns of 2 for 33. He, however, missed the final against Sri Lanka after fracturing his finger, and hasn’t played an ODI since.
Nehra last donned the national colours during the home T20I series against England in January this year. After being omitted for tours of the Caribbean and Sri Lanka, Nehra was recalled for three T20Is against Australia but hasn’t been fielded yet.
“I have given it (retirement) a good thought, especially with the way Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah have been bowling over the past six months,” he said. “When I came into this series, I had come prepared to bowl. The day I linked up with this squad, I spoke to the captain and coach about my plan, because whenever Ashish Nehra is in the side he plays in the XI; he doesn’t sit out, we’ve seen that in the T20s over the last couple of years.
“I feel Bhuvneshwar is ready, the way he has been bowling, and there is no big event in the next five or six months, like a World Cup or anything. It’s very important to me what people in the dressing room think. Now they say you can easily play for one more year. I’ve been a believer of the fact that it’s always good to retire when people ask why and not why not.”
Nehra added that he hasn’t yet decided his post-retirement plans. “I haven’t thought of it yet. All options are open, either coaching or mentoring,” he said. “I am always someone who takes one it series at a time. For now I have only made plans for the first of November.”