After an 18-year-old long glorious career that saw him win numerous accolades, Ashish Nehra finally said goodbye to cricket after the first T20I of the three-match series against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla. Soon after the match was over, many cricketers and Bollywood stars took to Twitter to pay tribute to the fast-bowler. One unique tribute, however, came from Nehra’s former Indian teammate Hemang Badani who uploaded a video on Facebook and shared some interesting stories about Nehra who had made his debut for India under Mohammad Azharuddin in 1999.
While Nehra will be long remembered for his sensational spell against England in the 2003 ICC ODI World Cup where he finished with the figures of 6 for 23, the 38-year-old was also part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team and his spell against Pakistan in the semi-final was as good as any of his other performances. Apart from this, Nehra also bowled a magnificent final over against Pakistan during the 2004 bilateral series.
“I remember one such incident which was in 2004, the epic India vs Pakistan series in Karachi. We scored about 350. Pakistan needed about 9 or 10 off the last over and there was a bit of confusion at the ground as to who is going to bowl the last over and Nehra standing at fine-leg at that point of time runs in to Sourav and he says, ‘Dada (Sourav), mein dalta hoon, aap daro mat. Mein match win karke dunga’ and as things turned out, he just gave 3 runs off the over, got the wicket of a set Moin Khan and won us the game,” said Badani in the video.
Back then, Pakistan needed a six from the last ball to win the match and an animated Javed Miandad (who was Pakistan coach and has himself hit a last ball six against India) was watching the game anxiously from the stands. Moin Khan failed to connect a full-toss from Nehra and was caught in the covers by Zaheer Khan.