At 33, Amit Mishra’s time is running out but the leg-spinner, who has frittered away many chances in his career, has been a revelation in this series against New Zealand. Getting second wind, Mishra is the leading and most experienced spinner with R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja rested. And he has been among wickets, taking three each in the first two ODIs in Dharamshala and Delhi.
The wickets couldn’t have come at a better time. With India slated to play a five-Test series against England from November followed by a four-Test series against Australia starting in February, Mishra, also trying to mentor young spinners in the side, has made a case for himself.
“Whenever a youngster comes up to me and asks for tips, I oblige, especially the small things I feel are pertinent for them. I’m really enjoying this role of supporting the youngsters,” Mishra said.
Despite having made his Test debut way back in 2008 and played his first ODI five years earlier, Mishra has been in and out of the squad. Often left to the grind of domestic cricket, he has been called for one-off series here and there. In all, he has played just 20 Tests and 33 ODIs.
What has worked in Mishra’s favour is the appointment of Anil Kumble as coach. Mishra credits him for his advice and for keeping him focused.
“Anil bhai helps me out a lot. Rather than going into technicalities, he helps out with the mental aspect. For example, when I wasn’t in the playing XI during the Tests, he advised me on the areas I should bowl. How I should vary my pace according to the conditions, and how I should adjust the field,” Mishra said.
While Mishra got some stick in Delhi, leaking 60 runs, he crucially got out to a rash shot trying to heave Martin Guptill across the line, handing the advantage to the Kiwis.
Mishra realises his mistake and is ready to improve.
“There was an opportunity in the last match. I played a bad shot. If my shot had gotten the runs, it would have helped the team. Next time I get a chance like this, I’m going to take my time and prove myself.”