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Unlike some of his other teammates from India's 2012 U-19 World Cup team, Vikas Mishra has gone somewhat under the radar after that victorious campaign. After taking 20 Ranji Trophy wickets in six matches for Delhi last season, at a creditable average of 29.75, Mishra didn't get an opportunity to play the Vijay Hazare one-dayers or the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s for his state team. The left-arm spinner is disappointed that he didn't get a chance, and can't wait to prove that he can perform in the shorter formats as well.
"I want to remove the 'Days bowler' tag and prove that I'm the same bowler in the shorter formats too. My aim is to do well this season and make a strong comeback in the shorter formats," says Mishra.
Whether for the India colts or for Delhi, Mishra has had to contend with a lot of competition from other talented left-arm spinners. During the U-19 World Cup, he had to vie for a spot with Harmeet Singh, who proved pivotal in India's triumph. In the Delhi squad, he has to contend with the presence of Manan Sharma, who holds a bit of an edge with his batting ability. Mishra, however, is not losing sleep over the issue, and enjoys the healthy competition.
"It is always fun to play with good competition around. I always feel that if I give my best, the rest will fall in place on its own," asserts Mishra.
Mishra's wicket-taking potency took a bit of a dip over the last two seasons. While he took 44 wickets at a strike rate of 53.09 over his first two seasons in first class cricket, his 31 wickets since then have come at a rate of one every 77.03 deliveries.
Part of this, he says, is down to the kind of pitches Delhi have played on.
"I got some good turning wickets during my first two seasons, and took a lot of wickets," he says. "Last couple of seasons, we've played on some green tracks, and I didn't bowl that many overs. Still, my performance last season was better than the one before that."
In order to take more wickets in unfavourable conditions, Mishra is looking to tighten his bowling while still expanding his repertoire.
"I am working on my line and length. The aim is to continue bowling on one good spot. It might turn or go straight with the