Veteran Indian pacer, Ashish Nehra is all set to retire from all forms of cricket after the first T20I against New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Nehra’s last match will be on his home ground in Delhi and stage seems set for a grand farewell. But before the sun sets on his 18-year-old distinguished career, we take a look at the numbers which redefined his role as one of the greatest servants of Indian cricket.
Since his debut in 1999 against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club under the leadership of Mohammed Azharuddin, Nehra has served Indian cricket with a lot of heart. He has featured in in 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20Is. Despite suffering several injuries and undergoing the knife 12 times, Nehra has managed to scalp 235 international wickets. Out of them, 44 have come in Tests, 157 in ODIs and 34 in T20 Internationals.
However, a thorn in his glittering career has been the continued injury concerns. Following his debut, he suffered his first injury and was sidelined for a couple of years. But soon he made a comeback in 2001 as he debuted against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club in 2001. With Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan the trio formed a formidable opening bowling partnership. He also went on to feature in 2003 World Cup and had a highly successful campaign where he picked up 15 wickets at an average of 19.26.
But the rigours of playing both the formats took a toll on Nehra as injury played spoilsport once again and he was once again left in the lurch.
But under the leadership of MS Dhoni, he made yet another successful comeback in 2009 and also went on to feature in the Wolrd Cup of 2011. During that period Nehra was also the second highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket. Sadly, Nehra’s last ODI was in the semi-final against Pakistan before injury once again saw him miss out on the finals. Soon after the World Cup, he was dropped once again but he kept playing in the shortest format of the game, regularly featuring in the IPL. His improved performances in the IPL led to a recall for the national side as he even played in the 2016 edition of the World T20. In the World Cup, he was exceptional with the new ball and consistently maintained an economy rate of below 7. He also picked up five wickets in the tournament. His last T20I was against England in February this year.
In the IPL, where Nehra has played 88 matches and picked up 106 wickets he has an impressive economy rate of 7.85. Apart from Lasith Malinga, who played 98 matches, Nehra is the only bowler to pick to have played less than 100 games and scalp 100 wickets. It was in this years IPL that Nehra reached the milestone.
With the willow, Nehra bever made much of an impression. In fact, it was less than ordinary as his numbers can be counted on fingers. In his 235 international matches, Nehra managed to score just 287 runs and his average never surpassed single digits. But this certainly cannot erase the lanky pacer’s contribution to the game as he leaves an indelible mark on Indian cricket.