'He kept his heavily swollen leg inside the bucket for hours' - Aakash Chopra narrates an inspiring episode involving Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra, despite not being fully fit, played and picked up six wickets to derail England in the 2003 World Cup clash.

Aakash Chopra and Ashish Nehra
Aakash Chopra and Ashish Nehra. (Photo Source: Getty Images and Twitter)

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Team India’s run in the 2003 World Cup was monumental for the players and the fans as they finished as the runners-up after getting defeated by Australia in the final at Johannesburg by 125 runs. During India’s campaign in the World Cup, there was one match against England in the league stage wherein the cricket fraternity witnessed a sensational bowling effort from seamer Ashish Nehra.

Nehra, who represented India in 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 27 T20 Internationals, had rattled the England team as they were bundled out for 168 in a 251-run chase in Durban. The pacer picked crucial wickets of Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan, Alec Stewart, Paul Collingwood, Craig White and Ronnie Irani to win the Man of the Match award.

Recently, the former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra revealed the backstory of Nehra’s blistering spell against England in that match. Speaking in the video posted on his official Facebook page, the commentator recalled that Ashish had a swollen leg and was facing difficulty in walking too. Showering praises on the pacer for his dedication and determination, Aakash said that Nehra proved that there is nothing greater than a person’s will.

“World Cup 2003, India vs England on Durban pitch. It was a close contest. England were at 52/2 chasing 250. Ashish Nehra came into the attack. He takes a great run-up, gets a leading edge off from the bat and England captain Nasser Hussain had to return to the pavilion. Great breakthrough.

“Then, came Alex Tudor (It was Paul Collingwood). He got out LBW. Michael Vaughan was caught behind. With this, half of England’s team fell down like a pack of cards. The Indian lions roared. But wait, you know this story, already right? Let me take you to the flashback, behind the scenes. This heavily swollen leg kept inside a bucket of ice… who is it?

“This is the same Ashish Nehra who, the very next day, stepped out on the field to rattle the England batting unit with a swollen leg. As we say, there is nothing greater than a person’s will. Not even injuries. If Nehra ji has decided that he will play against England, then no one can stop him,” Aakash Chopra recalled..

The real story is that of the passion, and not giving up, says Aakash Chopra

Reminiscing the incident further, the 42-year-old said that to cure his leg, Ashish kept his swollen leg in a bucket full of ice for many hours and also wore thick and tight socks after bandaging his leg to give his best in the match. Chopra concluded the episode saying that his only purpose of narrating this episode was to say that the people should not fear from challenges and should keep working on their passion.

“So, Nehra filled a bucket full of ice, and kept his heavily swollen leg inside the bucket for hours. The next day, he heavily taped and bandaged his swollen leg, and wore thick, tight socks. Even though it was even difficult for him to wear his shoes, he still got ready, stood up and went off to the field. With Dada’s faith in him, and his self-belief, Nehra ji achieved wonders which no one expected.

“Nehra took a 6-wicket haul – a feat which no other Indian bowler has been able to achieve during a World Cup game. The thing to remember here is that the records will continue to be broken. The real story is that of passion, and not giving up. An injury can affect your body, but not your determination. Long Live, Nehra ji,” Chopra signed off.