Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly was all praise for the persistent Ashish Nehra revealing that the player was always smiling whether he got selected or not. Ganguly also shared the tale of how Nehra braved a serious ankle injury to get his best ODI figures against England in the 2003 World Cup.
One of the rare positive things about a good player retiring is that it triggers many memories in others’ minds and they end up reminiscing old days and having a good laugh about it. Hence, when Ashish Nehra retired, who has been around for 18 years, tales were bound ooze out.
Ashish Nehra had played his last Test match at a very young age when Sourav Ganguly was the captain and the former skipper recalls how he dealt with the youngster who was always very lively and positive.
“Nehra is someone who just remains happy whether he plays or not. That's the best thing. He always is smiling. I dealt with him when he was young,” said Ganguly.
“Every time when I had to leave him out, every time I told Nehra 'Ashu you're not part of the game', I knew the doorbell would ring after the game. He wouldn't say anything before or during the game, but exactly at 11 pm, when you reach the hotel, the doorbell would ring. I would tell him, 'I wanted to give someone else the opportunity, someone else has performed better'. It was then all the stats would come up."
However, the best thing about Nehra was that he always made a comeback no matter what. The lanky pacer didn’t have the best of bowling figures and was neither India’s best fielder, but whenever he got the white ball in his hands, he was a different cricketer.
Ganguly narrates the tale of Nera’s famous innings against England in the 2003 World Cup, where India rode on his brilliant display of 6 for 23 to victory. Dada said, “He slipped in the game against Namibia, he had a hugely swollen ankle. We had the game against England in the next three or four days. I asked Ashish what to do with him. He said, 'just put my name and I will run in for you'. He did just that.”
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