With a carefully constructed brand image and politically correct PR-driven scripts shaping up to be a must-have in the off-field personality of every young Indian cricketer, the now-retired Ashish Nehra is astoundingly different.
It is quite evident throughout his recent interview with television presenter Gaurav Kapur, that the World Cup winner, quite evidently, cares scant little for perhaps ruffling someone’s feathers with his rib-tickling candour.
Despite being in and out of the side for the last 18 years, the Delhi pacer has played only 120 One-day Internationals and 17 Test matches. This unfiltered talk also has Nehra joking about the hardships he faced, his failure to grasp technology. “I have been operated upon 12 times. I had broken my finger and even to this day I have a screw inserted in my finger.” Nehra casually quips his battles with injuries that nearly threatened to throw his career off the rails.
Nehra is truly in his element when he talks about his former teammates, fellow veterans Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag. He has a rich history with the latter, having graduated to Sourav Ganguly’s Indian side around the same time. Nehra’s quick-wit has seen his legion of fans crying out for the veteran to take to Twitter, considering that Sehwag’s tongue-in-cheek comments have gone on to build a cult following on the micro-blogging site.
Nehra remarked: “[I] barely use my phone, just learnt to use Whatsapp. I just know the red [cut] and the green button [receive]”.
The 38-year-old’s iconic 6/23 against England at Durban is widely seen as his finest hour on a cricket field.
Nehra has a different take on his greatest feats. “In 2002, I smashed an Andrew Flintoff delivery out of Lord’s. Even though we were losing [India lost by 170 runs], I could see that our balcony was in splits after watching the ball sail over the roof.”
Nehra caps it off with a tongue-in-cheek shrug when pointed out that he joined a club that features batting icon Viv Richards with that shot off the England all-rounder.
Nehra had promised that he would play his final game when he would turn 40, a plan that didn’t materialise. What good is a Nehra story without surprises after all.
Watch the entire interview here:
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