When the selectors announced the squad for the T20 series against Australia, all eyes were on the youngest player in the team (at least by heart): Ashish Nehra. At the age of 38 years, the left-arm fast bowler is the finest example of persistence, grit and character. While most cricketers of his generation retired long back, Nehra remains the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack. Today, the BCCI announced that Nehra will be playing his last international match against New Zealand on November 1. Just to tell you how old Ashish Nehra is, when he made his debut for the Indian cricket, Mohammad Azharuddin was the captain of the side. So, Nehra has played under Azhar, Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Dhoni and now, Virat Kohli. Add to that his IPL captains and the list might be in double digits.
Nehra had made his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Colombo (SSC) in Feb 1999 even before the current selector MSK Prasad got his India cap. Prasad made his Test debut later that year against New Zealand at Mohali in October 1999. He represented India in 6 Tests and 17 ODIs. Sanjay Bangar who is currently the batting coach of the Indian team made his international debut two years after Nehra against England at Mohali in December 2001. Nehra had played 10 international games, even before Bangar got his jersey.
In Nehra’s debut match, Sri Lanka was led by Arjuna Ranatunga. Since then, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Hashan Tillakaratne, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath have all led the side. Another Asian country Bangladesh didn’t even get its Test status before Nehra’s debut!
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 7, 2017
In fact, Australia’s middle-order batsman Darren Lehmann had made his international debut just one year before Nehra. He is now the coach of the national side. Among, the current Indian players, Kuldeep Yadav was just a 4-year-old when Nehra started playing at the highest level.
Nehra who now represents India in just T20Is, featured in 17 Tests for his country picking up 44 wickets. His last Test for India came in 2004, three years before the first ever T20 World Cup was played. Finally, the old man has hung up his boots.