India's veteran fast bowler Ashish Nehra confirmed reports of his retirement from all forms of cricket, citing Bhuvneshwar Kumar's growth in the last five-six months as a reason for him to think the time was right to step away. Nehra has featured in 18 of the 26 Twenty20 Internationals that India have played since the pacer's comeback in January 2016, but started the ongoing Australia series on the bench as Virat Kohli opted to go ahead with his trusted new-ball (and death-bowling) pair of Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah.
"There's a particular reason [for my decision to retire], at one point everyone comes to know that it's about time. It's not an overnight decision. I have given it a good thought, especially looking at the way Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and [Jasprit] Bumrah have been bowling over the past 5-6 months," Nehra said on Thursday (October 12), on the eve of the third T20I between India and Australia in Hyderabad.
"I think this is the way forward, especially the manner in which Bhuvneshwar has been bowling. In the last couple of years, whenever I've played with Bumrah, either of Bhuvi or [Mohammed] Shami have had to sit out. So I think this is the right time [to retire] and I think people are welcoming it."
Nehra, who arrived for the Australia T20Is prepared to be a starter, conceded that he believed in timing his retirement well. The first T20I against New Zealand on November 1 thus, was perfect in his opinion, for it gave him the chance to walk away from the game at his home venue, where he made his Ranji Trophy debut 20 years ago.
"When I came into this series, I had come prepared to bowl. The day I linked up with this squad, I spoke to the captain and coach [and told them] about my plan... because whenever Ashish Nehra is in the side, he plays in the XI, he doesn't sit out, we've seen that in the T20s over the last couple of years.
"I feel Bhuvneshwar is ready, the way he has been bowling, and there is no big event in the next five or six months, like a World Cup. It's very important to me what people in the dressing room think.