HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHISH NEHRA: In recent years, many fast bowlers have made their mark, but a certain player who stands out and truly deserves a lot of credit for Team India’s great run is Ashish Nehra. Born on April 29, 1979 in Delhi, he went on to represent the country in all formats of the game. The tall lanky left-arm seamer with a side-on action, despite an injury hit career, could harass the best by moving the ball off the wicket with his pace, accuracy and subtle variations.
After a successful domestic debut in 1997-98 season, his earliest taste of international cricket came in 1999 against Sri Lanka in Nagpur, in a one-off Test appearance. He made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2001 and played a key role in Team India winning a Test outside the subcontinent for the first time in 15 years.
He was in and out of the national side due to fitness issues but was part of the Indian team in two World Cup campaigns (2013, 2011), two Asia Cups and three ICC Champions Trophy among others. The left arm pacer played in just 17 Test matches, picked 44 wickets, while in 120 ODIs he scalped 157 wickets. He also featured in 27 T20Is and picked 34 wickets.
He has also been particularly effective in the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which he has represented five different teams, picking 106 wickets from 88 outings. The veteran fast bowler announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in late 2017.
As Nehra celebrates his big day, here’s a look at some of his best performances:
6/23 vs England (2003)
In the 2003 World Cup match against England in Durban, defending just 250 on board, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan had already done the early damage by picking two quick wickets. Nehra stepped in to scalp six wickets and gave just 23 runs from his 10 overs. He not only notched career best bowling figures, but his impressive spell also guided India to an emphatic 82 run win over England.
4/35 vs Sri Lanka (2003)
Nehra’s song continued in the 2003 World Cup. India put in to bat first posting 292 runs at Johannesburg against Sri Lanka. Defending a challenging total, India had to use just three bowlers to clean up the Islanders. Srinath made in roads, while Nehra did a perfect job by cleaning up the tail.
6/59 vs Sri Lanka (2005)
In the final match of the Indian Oil Cup between the Asian giants in Colombo, Nehra recorded his second best figures of his career. He picked six wickets on a track where other bowlers struggled. However, India fell short of 18 runs chasing a target of 281.
4/40 vs Sri Lanka (2010)
During the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in Dambulla, Nehra notched another impressive record against his favourite batsmen. Defending just 268 runs on the board, he ripped through a formidable Sri Lankan batting line up and made sure India clinched the title.
4/47 vs New Zealand
New Zealand won the match by a 200-run margin in Dambulla in the triangular series with Sri Lanka. However, Nehra’s bowling was the only saving grace for the Indian side, he picked four wickets to restrict the Kiwis to 288 when they looked dangerously close to going above 320. In reply, India were bowled out for just 88 runs.