Not many would have expected the 36-year old to come out good. Especially when he comes after being the centre of jokes around. Take it the last over against South Africa in 2011 to a 25 run mauling by AB De Villiers in 2012 IPL, the people have gone on continuous rants against him. Now he’s making the very same people a run for their mouth and hasn’t looked since. Which makes it pleasing to see that the old guard is still standing tall.
It’s very unfair to judge people based on one or two performances and curse him forever on that. It was saddening to see someone like Nehra being targeted because of a few performances like those. After all we live in a world of internet where such things will happen very often. From his return to national colours in June 2009 to April 2011, this fast bowler was the second highest wicket-taker in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Normally, any team would have persisted with such a bowler at a time when they are going through a tough phase, facing a slump after the highs of winning the World Cup. However, Ashish Nehra was dropped after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 for reasons unknown. Four years down the line, an older and wiser Nehra is making his mark on the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In spite of a few failures, he has been the one who has defended India’s noses from being cut. Let it be the last over against Pakistan in Karachi in 2004 which gave India a historic win against Pakistan, to to 2010 when he bowled another last over to help India defend a 400-plus total with Sri Lanka threatening to get close. Also his record feat against England in the 2003 World Cup. If you will consistently bowl last overs in tight finishes, you will have a few going against you. That is the nature of the game.
He is one of the rare Indian fast bowlers who could bowl excessively above 140 KPH during the time of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad. And it was unfortunately because of injuries that made him dip so bad he never recovered from until this IPL. Lucky to have been a believer of his even in his bad times and he has come out good.
Let’s hope he does the more of it and ends up winning the purple cap this season. It would be a real tight slap on the face of critics if he does so. And another pleasing sight on the way