There is no denying the fact that Ashish Nehra is one of the best bowlers India has ever had. He is a legend in his own right. However, at the start of this IPL, not many would have guessed that he’d become the first Indian head coach to guide a team to victory at the tournament.

That’s correct, in the 14 editions before this one, not once has an Indian coach been able to achieve this feat. Ashish Nehra is the first, and he did it with Gujarat Titans, a team that was playing its maiden tournament under the leadership of a first-time captain: Hardik Pandya.

While that says a lot about Pandya and the squad, a special thanks also goes to Ashish Nehra, who could often be seen with a pen and paper across the boundary line.

The guy did his job in his own way. Sometimes giving charged-up speeches, sometimes sipping coconut water.

Speaking of Nehra’s approach, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade said:

Ashish ensured that. Here everyone gets net time, everyone gets a chance. It has been amazing, hopefully we can come back next year in front of these fans.

He also helped the team with choosing the right players. As Gary Kirsten, another person who played an important part in Gujarat’s win, puts it:

You’re looking for good balance, good depth in the auction but most importantly you’re looking for players who can do different roles, the one thing we’ve learnt with Ashish is finding guys who were versatile, and at 4, 5 and 6 – we’ve got that.

Seeing Ashish goof around, many forget about his tactical brilliance. And he has always done a great job at reminding them of the same.

In the words of the captain himself, it was Ashish Nehra who gave the players that extra push to put in their 110%.

Nehra is someone who goes to practice first. So, if everyone has already batted, the general thing is to go. But for Nehra, if 20 minutes are left, he would ask players to bat again. The way we played, the credit goes to him because he has made everyone work hard with a lot of passion. Anyone who goes out in the middle either says he will middle the ball or bowl with great line and lengths.

To this, Nehra, in his typical unassuming tone, said, “It’s a lie”.

I have always thought Ashish Nehra doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves, and his excellence is not celebrated as much as many others of his stature. Hopefully, this IPL victory will change things. 

This has been long overdue, Nehra ji.