Former Indian captain MS Dhoni has in his belt all that is needed to get acclaimed as one of the greatest skippers of all time. MS Dhoni’s man-management is one of the significant factors in his achievements and Ashish Nehra has iterated that. Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra was on the cusp of missing out on the 2011 World Cup squad if it was not for the captain.
India already lost one of their best bowlers, Praveen Kumar due to an elbow injury. That paved the way for S Sreesanth’s inclusion; however, the selectors and captain were keen to have the services of Ashish Nehra, who was undergoing fitness issues too.
Nehra was one of India’s best bowlers in the 2003 World Cup, bagging 15 wickets in nine games at 19.27. Hence, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan needed to have an experienced pacer if India were to lift the World Cup.
On Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry Podcast, Ashish Nehra revealed that he struggled quite a lot leading up to the World Cup and requested MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar to have a replacement.
Nevertheless, the keeper-batsman advised him to monitor himself for the next two to three weeks along with the physio and they will see how to proceed after that.
“And Dhoni tells me ‘listen, just hang in there for another two to three weeks. See how you feel. Be with the physio, sort it out with him, wait for two-three weeks and then we’ll see how it goes,” the veteran stated.
It was very disappointing but it was satisfying as well that we won the final: Ashish Nehra
The Delhi pacer played three matches in the World Cup, including the high-voltage semi-final against Pakistan. Nehra was the most economical bowler, finishing with figures of 10-0-33-2. Nevertheless, a fractured hand forced him to miss the final; however, the 41-year old conceded that India winning the tournament-decider was incredibly satisfying. On the day of the final, Nehra flew to Australia for surgery.
“I had a massive fracture. They day after the final itself, I left for Australia for surgery. It was very disappointing but it was satisfying as well that we won the final, we won the World Cup. It was a roller-coaster ride for me but in the end, I did manage to land safely,” he added.