‘Listen, just hang in there’ – Ashish Nehra reveals MS Dhoni’s words that inspired him to play 2011 World Cup
And indeed all the motive behind Dhoni's support came true and Nehra went on to play three matches in 2011 WC.
Updated - Aug 12, 2020 11:48 am
Lifting the 2011 World Cup, and the related memories can never ever slip off the mind of Indians. There are innumerable aspects that can be talked at length when it comes to talking about players’ personal stories, and here is another cherished memory of Ashish Nehra on which he opened up recently.
During 2011 WC, Nehra was in the not good physical state due a bad back and wanted to opt-out. Here is when captain cool, Dhoni came into play and suggested the pacer to have a second thought before the final call. Dhoni also suggested Nehra to wait until the very end, but the latter had already asked the captain and Tendulkar to have the replacement.
On Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry Podcast, Nehra said he was “really struggling” to fit in but motivating words from Dhoni kept him going. It was also when Sreesanth had replaced Praveen Kumar as Kumar was low owing to an elbow injury. Nehra admitted that during the course of this, Dhoni was the driving force behind his comeback in the tournament.
How MS Dhoni’s words worked wonders for Ashish Nehra
Nehra recalled what Dhoni said, “‘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.'”
And indeed all the motive behind Dhoni’s support came true and Nehra went on to play three matches in 2011 WC. He gave reasonable figures of 1 for 22 against the Netherlands. However, he remained offbeat in the match against South Africa, which was India’s only defeat in the whole tournament.
Nehra emerged as a star performer in the match against Pakistan in the semi-final. He kept really tight in the middle overs and took two wickets by conceding just 33 runs in 10 overs. This also turned out to be a farewell ODI for the pacer as he had to miss the finals against Sri Lanka owing to a fracture in the right hand. However, he is fondly remembered for his explosive attack in semi-finals of the mega event.
“I had a massive fracture. The 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,” Nehra concluded.