8 facts about Ashish Nehra

Born on April 29th, 1979, Ashish Nehra had the potential to spearhead the Indian attack in the major part of the previous decade. In a career spanning over 16 years, Nehra’s career has been plagued with career threatening injuries. Over the years, Nehra has been a butt of several jokes and subject of several internet trolls, but the fact remains that a fit Ashish Nehra is an asset to any side he plays for. Even at the twilight end of his career, he is generating some serious pace and has bowled Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table, as he is smiling at the top with the much coveted Purple Cap. Suvajit Mustafi lists out 10 interesting Nehra facts.

1. Best bowling figures by an Indian in World Cup

In what was truly one of the greatest bowling performances of all-times, Nehra bowled Indian to victory against England in Durban in World Cup 2003. His bowling spell of 6 for 23, is etched in the annals of Indian cricket forever and is recalled with great joy. He bowled well throughout the World Cup, clocking 90 mph quite consistently, and was one of the reasons for India’s success in that campaign. In fact, Nehra’s figures remain the third best by an Indian bowler in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) after Stuart Binny (6 for 4 against Bangladesh in 2014) and Anil Kumble (6 for 12 against West Indies in Kolkata in 1993). It remains a best performance by an Indian bowler in a World Cup match.

2. International debut in 1999

Nehra made his debut for India in 1999 in the Asian Test Championship against Sri Lanka. Not many active cricketers, who have debuted in the previous century, still are active international cricketers. Nehra certainly is one. Virender Sehwag, too made his first appearance in India colours in 1999, just a few days after Nehra’s. Nehra is the second oldest international currently playing in this IPL.

3. Friendship with Sehwag

Nehra Sehwag

Sehwag’s recent Nehraji tweets have taken the social media space by storm. Sehwag and Nehra have been teammates for many years – be it Delhi or India or in the IPL. In an interview with Indian Express in 2009, the duo spoke about each other.Sehwag said, “There is a lot of talk about how Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) and I are good friends, but Nehra and I go back even farther. I still remember both of us going to play matches sitting on a scooter, one of us driving, the other holding the kit-bag on the back seat. He used to carry just a small bag, the bigger one was always mine. It’s (the scooter) is very special to me, a token of our bonding.” Nehra was quoted as saying, “Viru toh yaaron ka yaar hai (Viru is a great friend).”

4. Only Indian to take six wickets in ODIs twice

Six wickets don’t come easy in One-Day cricket and if you thought Nehra’s spell against England was just a one-off wonder, it wasn’t. In 2005, against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Nehra took six wickets again, this time 6 for 59.

(READ: Ashish Nehra pays ‘left-handed compliments’ to his detractors)

5. Represented four teams in IPL

Nehra has played for four teams in IPL. In the inaugural edition, he was with Mumbai Indians and for the next two seasons he was with Delhi Daredevils. In 2011 and 2012, he was with Pune Warriors, again followed by another season with Delhi Daredevils. In 2014, he was picked up by Chennai Super Kings and currently is the holder of Purple Cap.

6. Reliable death bowler

Though Nehra is most remembered for his last over against South Africa in the World Cup 2011 in Nagpur, where Robin Peterson took the required 13 from the over, it’s a wrong notion that the bowler has most often let the side down. He has been a butt of jokes since then but time and again Nehra has proved to be a brilliant death bowler. In 2004, against Pakistan at Karachi, Nehra defended nine off the last over with an in-form Moin Khan and Naved-ul-Hasan at the crease. Pakistan were chasing 350. Again in 2009, chasing a massive 414, Sri Lanka needed 11 from the last over with Angelo Mathews going strong. Nehra bowled a seven-run over (which was less than the their innings run rate).

7. Involved in a pub brawl?

In 2010, during the World Twenty20 Championship, it was reported that Nehra and five other Indian cricketers were involved in a pub brawl. A section of fans told the players that it was disappointing to see them party after their poor on-field performances. Comments like these are believed to have instigated Nehra, and led to a scuffle. However, the players and Nehra denied any such incident.

(READ: Ashish Nehra won’t be mocked!)

8. When Nehra the batsman won it for India

Nehra isn’t known for his batting, in fact early in his career, he struggled with the bat but once when it mattered, he hit the winning runs for India. The 2002-03 tour of India to New Zealand was disastrous for the hosts. They had lost both the Tests and then the first four ODIs. In the sixth ODI at Auckland, Indian were again nine down and Nehra, who was strike hit the winning runs. It came as a big surprise to all the Indian fans, but of course, a pleasant one.

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(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)