Veteran left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra had announced that he will retire after the first India-New Zealand Twenty20 International in Delhi on November 1. But now it turns out that he is not a certainty in the Playing XI for that contest, spoiling his farewell plans.
Yesterday (October 23), the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) selection committee picked the Indian squad for the three-match T20I rubber against the Kiwis. Nehra was included in the 16-man line-up.
Recently, during Australia T20I series, the 38-year-old speedster had announced that he will quit international cricket on November 1. Feroz Shah Kotla is his home ground and he wanted to go out in front of his family and friends.
Now, selection committee chairman MSK Prasad has categorically said they won't interfere in team management's decision to pick the Playing XI for that game. Prasad clearly mentioned that there is no guarantee of a spot for Nehra.
"Whether he (Nehra) is going to play or not, is clearly the decision of the team management. There are no assurances from our side (selectors), whether he is going to play or not. It will purely be decided by the team management," Prasad told reporters in Mumbai after selecting T20I and Test (for Sri Lanka series) squads.
With new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah irreplaceable at the moment, it will be a difficult task for captain Virat Kohli and the team management to pick Nehra.
When Nehra had announced his retirement plans, even former skipper and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar had questioned about his statement. He had asked how the team management would pick Nehra when he was not chosen for Australia games.
"Ashish Nehra announcing his retirement also makes a bit of an issue, for with him not being selected for the first two games, how are the selectors going to pick him in the playing XI in the first T20 match of the new series against New Zealand?" Gavaskar had written in "The Times of India".
"Selections are not done on emotion but simply on merit. Nehra deserved to play against the Aussies but wasn't picked and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah can't be dropped, so how will Nehra be given the farewell he deserves? That will be interesting to see," he added.
Nehra made his international cricket debut way back in 1999, in a Test in Sri Lanka. He has so far played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20Is. He was part of India's 2011 World Cup winning squad. He has not played competitive cricket since May this year where he featured in Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) team in the Indian Premier League (IPL).