April 29, 1979, Delhi
Right hand bat
Left arm medium fast
Ashish Nehra brings to the popping-crease most of the virtues of a classical left-arm fast bowler - pace, accuracy, subtle variations of line and length, an ability to move the ball off the wicket and a devastating late inswinger that can harass the best. But with all those gifts came a curse - his brittle body, which may well have contributed to him playing his last Test in 2004. Still T20 cricket, which has a cap of only four overs, gave Nehra a lifeline and at 36 he revived his international career because he had reprised the ability to move the ball at 140 kph, and became one of India's most successful bowlers in the 2016 World T20.
Nehra came out of his first full tour - to Zimbabwe in 2000-01 - with his reputation as one of the most promising new-ball bowlers on the international circuit vastly enhanced, and his performance in Bulawayo played a key role in India winning a Test outside the subcontinent for the first time in 15 years. He struggled to establish himself thereafter, as inconsistency and injuries saw him slip down the pace bowling list.
The high point of that difficult period came in the 2003 World Cup against England, where he scalped 6 for 23 and then threw up by the side of the pitch. Surgery on a troublesome ankle, and an indifferent tour of Australia followed, and Nehra's status as an automatic pick was lost. He pulled out midway through the 2005 Zimbabwe tour and had a succession of operations on his ankle that slowed down his career. He hit the headlines with creditable showings in the IPL, particularly in the second season, and was recalled to the ODI squad for the tour of West Indies in June 2009 and found his mojo again.
His 31 ODI wickets in 2009 were the most he had ever taken in a year, and he followed it up with 28 dismissals in 2010 to establish his place in India's 2011 World Cup squad. He bowled a match-winning spell against Pakistan in the semi-final, but his body failed him again - an on-field injury prevented him from playing the final, which India won to become world champions.
It was long thought that was the end of Nehra, but he willed himself back into contention picking up 22 wickets for Chennai Super Kings in 2015 - the most by an Indian fast bowler. "I don't know what has happened. Whether it is my face, I don't know," he joked on being ignored by India's selectors in June. Six months later - and four years since his last appearance for India - he was brought back to the fold for a tour of Australia. With his help, India won their first limited-overs trophy Down Under and Nehra continued his fine form into the Asia Cup and the 2016 World T20.
Nehra was a key player for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first part of their triumphant 2016 IPL campaign before an injury halted his season. He underwent surgery on his right knee in London, and didn't play any serious cricket for the rest of the year, but India's selectors retained enough faith in him to pick him for the T20 series against England in January 2017.
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