Ashish Nehra – 37 and still going strong!
Image Credits: DNAIndia
“It’s all over !”, I said to myself and closed the television as it looked like George Bailey and Ravichandran Ashwin would steer the Rising Pune Supergiants to an easy victory. In the morning when I turned to the sports page of the newspaper, it read “Nehra strikes again as Hyderabad move to the top of the table”
After winning the man of the match in the previous game for his 3 for 15 against the Mumbai Indians, Nehra ji’s 3 for 29 helped the Sunrisers Hyderabad to defend a target of just 138 runs.
Pune required 14 runs to win off the last 6 balls when David Warner gave the last over to Ashish Nehra. Nehra ji didn’t disappoint.
So it’s 6 wickets in the last two matches for Ashish Nehra, whom many ruled out making a return to this year’s IPL right when he limped off the ground bowling his 3rd over in the first game of the season for Hyderabad. He missed the few matches and it didn’t take him much time finding his feet upon his return.
A great performance for Chennai Superkings last season bagging 22 wickets earned him a spot in the Indian team for the T20s down under where he continued to impress and found himself a place in the team for the Twenty-Twenty world cup. Last time he played for the Indian blue was back in the 2011 world cup semi-final against Pakistan where he injured his finger and missed the finals.
Nehra took 5 wickets from 5 games in the T20 WC and was one of the only two Indians who made it to the ICC World T20 team, the other being Virat Kohli.
I heard a commentator say in an IPL game that Nehra would have been a better player for India than Zaheer Khan had his career not been plagued with injuries. He began his career as a great fast bowling prospect for the Indian team. He helped India to win first test outside the subcontinent after 15 years against Zimbabwe in 2001. He was also clinical for India in the 2003 world cup. His 6 for 23 against England was one of the best performances by an Indian bowler in world cup cricket. In the same tournament he bowled a delivery at 149.7 kmph, fastest at that time by an Indian. The good times didn’t last forever for him though. His frail body started giving in to injuries and he could never be a regular for the Indian team.
He was the 3rd highest wicket taker in the 2nd edition of the IPL taking 19 wickets and earning the ticket to the 2011 world cup.
Chennai Superkings purchased him for 2 crores for IPL 2014. His first season was ordinary but the second one marked his resurrection. 35 year old Ashish Nehra was in the contention for the Purple cap right until the end. And from there he never looked back. Delivering great performances for club and country he was purchased by Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping amount of 5.5 crores in the auction for IPL 2016. Halfway through the season he’s proving that big an amount for a 37 year old to be a bargain.
Despite injuring himself in the first game Nehra looks like he’s in the best shape of his life. He is a good example for all the youngsters out there, showing if you got the heart no injury is gruesome enough. He’s cemented his place amongst world’s finest T20 bowlers. I won’t be surprised if he makes it to the Indian ODI and test teams as well. Nehra ji is proving with his lethal left arm and sheer hard work that age is just a number. If there is a fountain of youth in this world ask Ashish Nehra for the address!
Sportscrunch wishes him best for the remainder of his career which we hope lasts for another 8-10 years.