Having sat out the Champions Trophy and the tri-series in the West Indies, the only window of opportunity that leg-spinner Amit Mishra got was the ODI series in Zimbabwe. A failure here would have pushed him further back into international oblivion. However, Mishra grabbed the chance with both hands, taking 18 wickets in five games — a record in a bilateral series. At the ongoing Champions League T20, he has picked up from where he left off in Zimbabwe. Against the Faislabad Wolves the other day, he bowled four overs for 13 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad and took a wicket to be named man of the match. With Hyderabad making the main draw, Mishra hopes to continue his good show and impress the selectors ahead of a packed international season. Excerpts from an interview with The Indian Express:
It was a new and different Amit Mishra in Zimbabwe. You were faster, bowled effective googlies and troubled the batsmen with your variations. How did you bring about this change?
I have worked hard on my bowling in the last two years and have added pace and variations. I realised that I was bowling too slow in the air and the batsmen were able to read me with ease. At the NCA last year, Narendra Hirwani and Anil Kumble helped me with my bowling. Keeping their suggestions in mind, I worked on my pace and learnt to use the crease more effectively. Also I started using my shoulder a lot more.
Let’s talk about the mental aspect? Have you worked on your approach as well and toughened up mentally?
My mindset is totally different now. I have become a thinking bowler. The Zimbabwe tour has made me confident. It is not that I was not bowling well before, I just needed to be more focused and perform keeping the competition in mind. In the last two years, I have worked harder than ever before on my game.
Speaking of the competition, you’ll be facing top Indian spinners over the next two weeks in the CLT20.
It is good that there is competition among the spinners. Pragyna Ojha, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are doing well for India. It is challenging to have such competition around. That is the reason I had to work hard on my bowling and give results. One has to be on the toes and deliver to be in the running for the national