Kolkata: Veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, who has had an illustrious career which spanned for over two decades, has played under the guidance of numerous coaches which include the likes of John Wright, Greg Chappell, Gary Kirsten and now, he would play his last match under Ravi Shastri when India take on New Zealand in the first T20I in Delhi on November 1.
Talking about his experience with these coaches, Ashish opined that Australian Greg Chappell would have been a good coach for the juniors.
“I didn’t play much under Greg Chappell save two series in 2005 (in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe). Mujhe pahle series se hi maloomthaa yeh biryani khichdi bannewali hain Greg ke under (I knew Biryani would turn into Khichdi under Greg),” said Ashish.
He also said, “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.”
Ashish also had his say on the current coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli. He said, “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.”
“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 further added.
The Delhi speedster has had a long career for India during which he played a total of 162 matches across all formats where he has taken 44 wickets in Tests, 157 in ODIs and 34 in T20Is.
Talking about his career in an interaction with the PTI, he 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.”
“It’s been a great journey. Maybe 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,” he added.
Recalling his early playing days in Delhi’s famous Sonnet Club in the 1990‘s, he said, “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 (he was a dominating batsman).”
“And Ajay Sharma, well I can tell you about his cricket. With no disrespect to all the current top spinners in our country — Ajay bhaiya would have murdered them even on rank turners. He was that good at the domestic level,” added the veteran.
He also said that he respected Ajay Jadeja’s cricketing brain.
Opined Nehra, “I remember bowling one-change in my debut Ranji game as Robin Junior and Wassan (his last first-class match) were bowling with newball. I got Ajay Jadeja for a duck in both innings. Another man is Ajay Jadeja. I have huge respect for his cricketing acumen.”
“For me, Ajay Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the two shrewdest cricketing brains I have ever interacted with,” he added.