New Delhi: Very few cricketers bid adieu to international cricket with both the bowling ends named after them and that too in their home ground but veteran pacer Ashish Nehra called himself “fortunate” to have all these during his farewell game — the first T20 International against New Zealand at the Ferozshah Kotla here.
Nehra could not have asked for a better send-off as the men-in-blue also won the contest by 53 runs on Wednesday to register their first victory against the Kiwis in the shortest format.
Recalling his debut Ranji match against Haryana in 1997 from the same end where he was asked to bowl the final over on Wednesday, the 38-year-old said he was satisfied and happy to end on a high.
“I still remember my first match in 1997 when I bowled my very first over in professional cricket against Haryana from the same end. There is no doubt that it’s emotional but I am happy and satisfied to end his career on a high,” Nehra told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“I am very lucky to play my final game in front of my home crowd. This is where I have played my 20 years of cricket. It feels great to retire when you are on top of the game.
“When I informed captain Virat (Kohli) and head coach Ravi Shastri of my decision during the first T20I against Australia at Ranchi, Virat asked me ‘Are you sure'”
“I said ‘this is the time when you are on top of your game and fortunately got a match in Delhi’, what better occasion could I get to hang my boots,” he further said.
After undergoing a dozen surgeries during his 18-year-long injury-littered international career, Nehra said it is his body that will be at peace post retirement.
“I will miss all this. 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 a couple more years, but there can’t be a better time to walk away,” Nehra said.
“I last played Test cricket when I was 24 or 25, but at the end, to have played for 18 years and to be here standing in blue clothing and to have played my final match, I could not have asked for anything more.
“I have no regrets. I am always happy, retired or otherwise,” added Nehra, who took 44 scalps from 17 Tests.
Asked about his future plans, Nehra said he is yet to take a call on whether to go for coaching or commentary roles.
Nehra finished his international career with 34 scalps from 27 T20 Internationals besides taking 157 wickets from 120 One-day Internationals.