Cricket

Losing the 2003 World Cup final will be a huge regret, says Ashish Nehra

[caption id="attachment_55517" align="alignnone" width="580"]nehra-story_647_021116022145 Ashish Nehra will play his last match of his international career against New Zealand on November 01.[/caption]

Internet Desk: Come Wednesday, as left arm seamer Ashish Nehra will finally hang his boots. It’s been a long journey for the lanky pacer since making his debut 20 years back. A veteran of 163 international matches across all the formats, Nehra will remain an enigma for what he could have achieved had he not gone under knife 12 times.

"It's been a great journey. May be one regret. If I could change anything in these 20 years, that afternoon in Johannesburg during the 2003 World Cup final. But nothing else as it's all about destiny," told Nehra to PTI.

Talking about his journey so far, Nehra said,"Trust me, I have had an eventful 20 years. I am not a very emotional person. The next 20 years is what I am looking forward to. Hopefully, it will be as eventful as it has been since I started playing for Delhi in 1997,"

He added, "During my first Ranji Trophy game at Kotla, Delhi team had late Raman Lamba, Ajay Sharma, Atul Wassan and Robin Singh junior. Raman bhaiya and Ajay bhaiya, I have grown up bowling to them at Sonnet nets. Difficult to forget Raman Lamba. Dada player thaa (cricketing lingo for dominating batsman)."
During the glorious 20 years of international career, Nehra has played under many coaches. He has seen the quiet resurgence under John Wright, been through the tumultuous phase under Greg Chappell, had a second coming under Gary Kirsten and the final flourish under Ravi Shastri.
"I didn't play much under Greg Chappell save two series in 2005 (in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe). Mujhe pahle series se hi maloom thaa yeh biryani, khichdi bannewali hain Greg ke under (I knew biryani would turn into Khichdi under Greg).
"That's where Gary (Kirsten) was such a superb coach. He discussed strategies with MS (Dhoni) but on field, he never interfered with MS' style of functioning. But I still believe Chappell could have been a terrific coach for juniors," Nehra observed.
Talk about Virat Kohli and Nehra would say that Ravi Shastri is the ideal foil for Kohli.
"Look Virat's career and captaincy are on auto-pilot mode right now. He knows what he is doing and leads by example. He doesn't need gyaan (sermons) but support which Ravi gives him in abundance," he said.
"You know the best part about Ravi. If a player is going through a rough patch, he is the man. Even if the player is not able to middle a single ball in the nets, Ravi would make him believe that he is as good as Brain Lara! Now that might sound ludicrous to an outsider but those who understand cricket know that this is man-management," he said.
On being asked whether he will become the bowling coach of the Indian team if offered the role?
"No such plans as of now. Yes, I will do a bit of coaching and commentary but if you talking about Indian team, no such thoughts till 2019 World Cup. After that, let's see what happens."
Fans will remember him for his 6/23 against England in Durban where he hardly put a foot wrong. But can just one night's performance describe him?
"Sports is nothing but moments. People remember that night. I would like them to remember me as an honest trier. Ek aisa shaqs jisne seekh ke khela nahin par khelke ke seekha (a person, who didn't learn and play but played and learnt)," he replied.

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