“Sport is nothing but moments... I would like people to remember me as an honest trier. A person who didn’t play after learning but learnt while playing,” said Ashish Nehra, who made his final international appearance, a Twenty20 International against New Zealand, at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Nov 1.
The lanky left-arm medium-fast bowler, who turned out on 164 occasions for India across formats, spent two seasons with the Chennai Super Kings and claimed 22 wickets in the 2015 edition, including that sensational 4-10 to dismantle Royal Challengers Bangalore in the league phase.
The Lions, two-time champions, made it to the final for the sixth occasion in the 2015 season apart from qualifying for the Playoffs in every season since the inaugural edition, to emerge as the most-decorated side in the competition.
“If you can, then sprint. If not, then run. Can’t run? Then jog. Won’t jog? Then, at least, walk! Can’t walk? Then crawl. But just keep on moving,” said the 38-year-old, explaining the philosophy that underlines his spirit which saw him battle through several injuries in an international career spanning 18 seasons.
Delhi-born Nehra, who runs a cricket academy in Noida, described MS Dhoni, who led the Lions in all eight seasons, and Ajay Jadeja as two of the shrewdest cricketing brains he has ever interacted with.
When Dhoni, who retired from Test cricket as skipper in 2014, relinquished his limited-overs captaincy in January this year, he closed at a record 331 games across all formats. A colossus among captain-wicketkeepers at that, given that second on the list of most matches across formats was Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim, who was yet to reach 80.
“I will miss all this,” Nehra said, referring to his cricket career. “That’s what you train for. One thing which will definitely be at peace will be my body. I said earlier that I can go on for a couple of more years but there can’t be a better time to walk away,” Nehra said after his final game.
"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.”
Nehra, who subsequently made his television commentary debut during the first Test against Sri Lanka, said he wasn’t thinking of a bowling coach role at the international level as yet.
“No such plans as of now. Yes, I will do a bit of coaching and commentary but if you are talking about Indian team, no such thoughts till 2019 World Cup. After that, let''s see what happens,” he signed off.