x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

India's Ashish Nehra set to retire from international cricket, say media reports

Left-armer, who made his debut in 1999, will call time on career after Twenty20 match against New Zealand next month

Ashish Nehra, centre, has been on the Indian selectors' radar for the past 18 years. Munir uz Zaman / AFP
Ashish Nehra, centre, has been on the Indian selectors' radar for the past 18 years. Munir uz Zaman / AFP

Ashish Nehra plans to retire from international cricket following a Twenty20 match between India against New Zealand next month, media reports have said.

Nehra, a left-arm fast bowler who made his debut in 1999, will call time on an injury-plagued career at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in his native Delhi, according to an Indian cricket board source.

An official in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told news agency Press Trust of India that Nehra informed coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli about his decision.

“Ashish has told both Ravi and Virat that he does not want to continue beyond November 1 when India plays New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla," the source said. "Obviously, there is some element of surprise. One thought that he would like to continue till the home season against Sri Lanka.

"But he feels, it’s the right time to move on."

Nehra, 38, had said earlier of his intention to continue playing in the game's shortest format - he is no longer involved in Tests or one-day internationals - for at least the next two years. But with no global T20 competition scheduled in 2018 and India well stocked in the fast bowling department, he opted to advance his retirement.

“Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are form bowlers and Ashish felt that it’s only fair in the interest of the team that they continue," the official said. “Bhuvi has improved as a T20 bowler in leaps and bounds, and Ashish said that the pair should continue."

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India host New Zealand in a series of three ODIs and as many T20 internationals starting in October-November, and curiously Nehra decided to hang his boots after the first T20 game.

"Had there not been a match at Kotla next month, Ashish would have retired after playing the third T20 international [of the ongoing series against Australia] at Hyderabad on October 13,” the official said.

Nehra, who took 235 wickets in 163 international appearances, was an integral part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team, although he will also be remembered for his match-winning spell of 6-23 against England in the 2003 edition.

He formed a potent new-ball bowling partnership with fellow left-armer Zaheer Khan at the turn of the century, but persistent injuries - which resulted in surgeries on his ankle and knee - hampered a stop-start career.

Having reportedly made himself unavailable to play in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition next season, it is understood he is being tapped by several franchises to join their backroom staff as a bowling coach.