Sanjay Manjrekar: It’s nice after retirement when you can take a lap of the ground, walking. You don’t have to run anymore and train for your next game.
Ashish Nehra: I will miss all this. That’s what you train for. Like I have said earlier also, the one thing which will definitely be at peace and relaxed will be my body, because I really pushed myself. Earlier, I said I could have pushed myself for another couple of months or years, who knows? But I thought it’s the right time when you’re playing. You can’t get bigger than this or better than this when you’re retiring in blue clothes.
Must also be a nice feeling to bowl the last over with 60 runs to win because that doesn’t happen very often in T20 cricket.
I must be one bowler who bowled the last over most number of times for India. But maybe the pressure on those occasions was different, with 6, 8, 10 or 12 to defend. Today, there was no pressure. And it’s a good feeling. Virat was on my case from the last two-three overs to bowl one over; I said I’ll bowl the last one for sure.
Your journey started in 1999. You almost went through two generations of Indian players. How did the game change from the time you started playing to now?
It’s a big change. I have seen the last 18-19 years. I played my first game here in 1997, which was 20 years ago. And the game has changed drastically since then. The rules have changed and so many runs are being scored. But one thing’s for sure: this team is here to stay; doesn’t matter what the rules are, because this is an amazing team. Indian cricket is in good hands for the next six to eight years. I hate comparisons. It’s very difficult to compare that generation to this generation. Earlier also we had superb players; I can’t name one or two. I have played under Sourav Ganguly, MS [Dhoni], played with Sachin [Tendulkar]. All in all, it’s been a great journey.
Your most memorable performances? What about against England in Durban where you took six wickets, because that is something that I remember especially.
More than the performance, I would definitely say it’s a memory. In India, they remember your memories more. I was telling Viru earlier also; Viru scored so many runs, but when it comes to Virender Sehwag, people say Multan ka Sultan, 300. Or you played so much cricket, but people will always remember that Pakistan double-hundred. So that is one memory with me. You could also say the Karachi last over [in 2004], or people will remember that Ashish Nehra bowled the last over when we lost against South Africa in the  World Cup. So it’s difficult to pick one performance.
Sometimes you bowl 10-20 overs and pick one wicket or you don’t pick even a single wicket. But when you go back to your room, you feel today I have bowled well and I’m comfortable. At times, you pick wickets even off a full-toss or because somebody takes a brilliant catch. Those things will always be there, but as a cricketer, ultimately it’s on you when you stand in front of the mirror to realise how well you’re doing or what else you can do.
In my case, with my body – I had so many injuries and so many surgeries. So many people have asked me, ‘definitely you would have liked to play more Test cricket?’ And I always say, yeah, but it’s up to you how you see it: glass half-full or half-empty. I played my last Test match 13 years back when I was 24 or 25, but that’s a part of life. In the end, I don’t think there’s anyone more fortunate than me, standing here retiring after 18-19 years at your home ground in blue clothes. I have no regrets.
And look at the crowd as well. They were so happy for you when you bowled the final over as well. They were right into it, so this is a great end. Not too many people have the kind of privilege you had today.
I just want to thank the crowd. They have been great supporters of Indian cricket. I have been playing on this ground for the last 20 years, they have been great supporters throughout.
Well done, Ashish, and have a happy retired life. Enjoy yourself.
Thank you very much. I am always happy, retired or otherwise.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo