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Ashish Nehra to hang-up boots leaving behind a wealth of memories!
Amidst the incessant rains, traffic, trolling and tailgating - I think the ardent cricket lovers cannot afford to miss this significant one.

Ashish Nehra – a committed, resourceful, and one of those handful Indian fast bowlers to sustain (almost) 2 decades of first class cricket has announced his retirement from all forms of the game and will be playing his last one on November 1 against NZ, at his home ground Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

Three things that immediately create a meteor flash across my timeline of memories, when I think of this iconic player are the following:

1. That first (out of five) one-day-international against Pakistan in Karachi, 2004, under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. After a fantastic show by Sehwag, Dravid, Sourav and Kaif, India posted a mammoth 349. And we all thought its gonna be a cake walk, till we (yet again) saw what Inzamam was capable of doing. It all boiled down to the last over when Pakistan needed I guess 9 runs from 6 balls and man-in-form, Moin Khan out there in the middle. After a lot of on-field contemplation, a confident Sourav handed the ball to Ashish Nehra without any hesitation. To all our surprise Ashish contended the ruthless, unorthodox batting show and just never allowed them to stretch their wings, and India posted a 5 run win.

I keep reminiscing those winning moments as: 1) That game against Pakistan was played after several years of not playing bilateral games; 2) I watched it on a big screen at a pub in Hyderabad Pub in an unbearably loud and tense environment.

That one over was a clear show of variety of balls and their mix and match: slow ball, yorker, low full-toss, in-swinger etc... And clear mind reading strategies and above all, I guess "he stuck to those 'slog over' basics – follow the feet of the batsman".

It will be truly remembered and cherished for a long time in true love & spirit of the game.

2. A six-wicket show vs England in 2003 ICC World Cup which was basically much needed at that time. Considering the form and performance of Indian players at that time, no one really thought that they go and out into that illustrious tournament and make it big. But I guess spells like these, have instilled confidence and inspired folks beyond those barriers.

3. 2011 ICC World Cup, where after being unceremoniously dropped after the first game (vs South Africa) for being expensive, he came back in the most crucial game (vs Pakistan) and that apparently was also the semi-final. He managed to remain as the most economical bowler of the match, contending some of the best strikers of the ball and that too in outright batting conditions.

Just in case you guys want to enjoy that last over of the Karachi game, here it is:

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