Mumbai, April 1: It's been a bumpy ride for Ashish Nehra in the World Cup, and he's not even had much of a ride either. The Indian left-arm fast bowler has featured in just 3 of India's 8 matches so far, taking a mere trio of wickets at an unimpressive average of 40 and at an economy rate on the highish side at 5.
Injury kept him out of India's first two group matches, which were against Bangladesh and England and with Piyush Chawla and Yusuf Pathan in the side, there was no place for him in the match against Ireland. Then he bowled a decent 1/22 in 5 overs againt the Netherlands before slumping to rock bottom with 0/65 in 8.4 overs against South Africa, where he conceded 16 runs in the final over to lose the match for India (scorecard).
Consequently, he was kept out of the team for the last group stage match, which was against the West Indies and in the quarterfinal versus Australia. He also became the laughing stock of fans and the media alike, turning the butt of several jokes that were doing the rounds on the internet.
- Raj Thackeray confesses that Ashish Nehra is the only reason for why he hates North Indians.
- Behind every successful batsman is Kamran Akmal. But in front of them is Ashish Nehra.
- Here lies the Career of Ashish Nehra. RIP: 2002 - 2011.
- Chawla bowls leg-breaks, Nehra bowls heart-breaks!
- Dear Priyanka Chopra, please marry Nehra and kill him. 1000 khoon maaf!
But like all competent players he announced his return in the side for the all-important semi-final against Pakistan. He turned out a truly formidable performance of 2/33 (scorecard), the most economical in the Indian attack and nearly pulled off a sensational catch that would have nipped Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi's elaborate plans of an innings revival, in the bud.
But it was was a truly spectacular effort at deep midwicket to charge in and lunge forward as the ball was dying on him, all the more so because he is not known for his nimbleness in the field and also because he wound up fracturing a finger in the process.
He was lauded for that courageous endeavour from his team-mates and the full-house at Mohali and now Oneindia Cricket salutes him too. The man who was accused of single-handedly losing matches for India has answered his critics, detractors and mockers in the most definitive way possible.