Speaking on Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry Podcast, Nehra said that he was considering not making himself available for the 2011 World Cup due to an injury but it was the then captain Dhoni who suggested that he should give it a try.
“Before the World Cup, I was struggling with a stiff back so much that at one point of time I thought I won’t play, I’ll leave,” said Nehra.
“I still remember Praveen Kumar or one other fast bowler got injured and S Sreesanth was his replacement. I told MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar that I don’t think I’ll play the World Cup before I was really struggling and it’s better to get a replacement.
“And Dhoni tells me ‘listen, just hang in there for another two-three weeks. See how you feel. Be with the physio, sort it out with him, wait for two-three weeks and then we’ll see how it goes.”
The left-arm fast bowler went on to play just three matches in the World Cup. He picked 1/22 against the Netherlands before returning with 0/65 versus South Africa. He did well in the semi-final victory against Pakistan with figures of 2/33, but was ruled out of the final with another injury.
“Then I started playing one game at a time. I played against Holland, had a bad game against South Africa and then missed one. The semi-final comes. I play, we win, I had a good game but again missed the final,” said Nehra.
“I had a massive fracture. They day after the final itself, I left for Australia for surgery. It was very disappointing but it was satisfying as well that we won the final, we won the World Cup. It was a roller-coaster ride for me but in the end, I did manage to land safely.”
Nehra found a second wind in his international career and made a comeback to the Indian team in 2016. He played the 2016 World T20 in India and was included in the ICC’s Team of the Tournament. The pacer eventually retired from all forms of cricket in 2017 at the age of 38.