Veteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra played his last global game when the Men in Blue played the first T20I of 3-match series against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. He bowled the last over against New Zealand in the first T20I of the 3-match series at Feroz Shah Kotla that India won by 53 runs.
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The Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) had named one of the playing ends at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium after the veteran seamer, also known as Nehra ji.
But he delivered like always and he now happens to be India's third highest wicket-taker in T20Is behind R Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah with 34 wickets from 26 matches. He had played 144 One Day International matches in which he had taken 157 wickets.
Nehra's statements are not surprising as he was one of those seasoned stalwarts who always valued playing for India much more than turning out for an IPL franchise.
Life comes a full circle for Virat Kohli and Ashish Nehra!
The 38-year-old came back to the global side after four years for India's tour of Australia in January.
Recalling the photo in which Nehra was giving an award to a young Kohli long time back, the Indian captain said, "That was back in 2003 after he had come back from the World Cup. I was 13 then and struggling for a place in the school team", the Indian skipper said. Calling time on his cricket career, the 38-year-old bowler played his last global match yesterday in Delhi. I could have pushed for another two months or years, but who knows you can't get better and bigger than this retiring in blue clothes. He can now spend time with his family, he's got a lovely family. "We'll stay in touch but we'll miss him and I wish him all the best", Kohli quoted. That's what you train for. The wide-eyed expressions became even more pronounced when he proved his return wasn't just a one-tour affair, with Nehra featuring in the Asia Cup, the ICC World T20, as well as for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the next two editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) thereafter.
Nehra, who made his debut way back in 1999 under captain Mohammad Azharuddin, has left many amazed with his hunger to play for the country despite his body being ravaged with injuries. I have no regrets.
Kapil Dev said that every cricketer should be given the farewell Nehra received. When I was doing well, I said to Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri that it is not that I don't want to play. "Now that picture belongs to Virat Kohli".