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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 07:30 GMT

New model Nehra strikes gold
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Durban

Ashish Nehra, with Yuvraj Singh (left) and Sourav Ganguly
Nehra is congratulated by his team-mates after his superb bowling spell
Day-night dreams do not come more improbable than this.

Ashish Nehra's World Cup hopes appeared to have collapsed in a heap in Pietermaritzburg three days ago when he went over on his left ankle in bowling his only delivery against Namibia.

A doubtful starter against England, the 23-year-old passed a fitness test no more than two hours before the start of the match.

But by the time he had completed his 10th over under the Kingsmead floodlights, he was being congratulated by his team-mates for the third- best bowling figures in World Cup history.

Nehra was more determined to play than anyone else
Sourav Ganguly
India captain

And then there were the injuries and technical shortcomings that had threatened an international career that started at the tender - and premature - age of 19.

If it was not the back it was the groin, and if it was not being banished from the attack for running down the pitch it was a chronic no-ball problem.

A long delivery stride that was the cause of numerous injuries and much of the overstepping needed urgent remodelling.

But remodel it he did and before long he was back in the India side and taking Brian Lara's wicket three times in a series.

And against England in Durban he struck gold with figures of 6-23, behind only West Indian Winston Davis (7-51) and Australian Gary Gilmour (6-16) in World Cup matches before Glenn McGrath set a new mark on Thursday.

He had previously never taken more than three wickets in each of his 32 one-day internationals.

Best World Cup bowling
Glenn McGrath 7-15 v Namibia (Potchefstroom 2003)
Winston Davis 7-51 v Australia (Headingley 1975)
Gary Gilmour 6-14 v England (Headingley 1975)
Ashish Nehra 6-23 v England (Durban 2003)
Chaminda Vaas 6-25 v Bangladesh (Pietermaritzburg 2003)

"He was more determined to play than anyone else," India captain Sourav Ganguly said.

"The physio, the coach, the captain, they can all do their bit but unless the player wants to play there is little that can be done.

"He had swelling on the ankle but still bowled his 10 overs at good pace.

"It was one of the best spells of fast bowling that I have seen in one-day cricket."

There can be no coincidence that the two outstanding bowling performance of the tournament have come from left-armers.

Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas's late inswing was too much for Bangladesh in Pietermaritzburg, where he claimed 6-25.

And it was late movement both ways that accounted for Nehra's wickets against England.

He was quicker than you thought - quicker than he was in England last year
Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Craig White all followed balls angled across them and edged to the keeper, while Paul Collingwood and Ronnie Irani sliced to slip.

And Alec Stewart was beaten by one that came back and trapped him in front.

"He hit the deck hard, which is important in Durban, and nibbled it around a little bit both ways," Hussain acknowledged.

"He was quicker than you thought - quicker than he was in England last year."

Links to more India stories


India captain Sourav Ganguly
"It was an outstanding display"

India bowler Ashish Nehra
"It was a good wicket to bowl on"

Nehra rips through England
26 Feb 03 |  World Cup
India v England: over by over
26 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
England undone by Nehra
25 Feb 03 |  Photo Galleries
Have Your Say on India
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on England
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say

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