Ashish Nehra will play his final game against New Zealand in the first T20 of the series at his home ground of Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on November 1, he confirmed on Thursday after speculation rose a day earlier. With that, he would bring to an end his 18 year career and has also called time on playing further domestic cricket and Indian Premier League. IPL had played a big role in his comeback to the shortest format of the game in 2016.
“I’ve spoken to the team management and the chairman selection committee and it can’t get bigger than playing your last at the same venue where I played my first Ranji Trophy game 20 years back. It’s always good to retire when people are asking ‘Why’ rather than ‘Why Not?’ I always wanted to retire on a high. Can’t get bigger than playing in Delhi and retiring there. It is a way forward and there is no bigger tournament coming. The way Bhuvneshwar Kumar is bowling, it was me and Jasprit Bumrah bowling. This meant either Bhuvi or Mohammed Shami sat out. Now I think it is the right time and they’ve welcomed my decision,” he said.
“I was always mentally strong. Whenever I was training, I was training to play for India. I am that sort of a person that I train day in, day out just to play for India. I know that I am retiring in November, there are five months and I can easily play the IPL or I could have played another year of international cricket also. But that’s my decision, once I leave, I will leave. I won’t even play the IPL,” he added.
Nehra made his India debut in 1999 under the captaincy of Mohammed Azharuddin and throughout his career he played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20 Internationals. In his career, Nehra picked 44 Test, 157 ODI and 34 T20 wickets. He was also a part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad with a match-changing performance in the semi-final against Pakistan. However he missed the final due to a finger fracture.