I have known Amit Mishra for a long time now. But there was something different about him when we met during the Irani Trophy game a few months ago. The conversation as always was about his bowling. Amit, though, didn’t sound as confident as he does usually. There was something worrying him.
He had been in and out of the Indian team for a while now. In fact, he had spent some 25 months on the sidelines before making a return in Zimbabwe. The long interlude had had an effect on him. He didn’t enjoy his captain’s (MS Dhoni) trust and Amit was aware of that. (Also Read: Mishra spins into leading role)
I would often ask him how come he was being so successful in the IPL and yet struggling to get back to the national team. His explanation was always the same. Amit believes intrinsically that he is the champion of his IPL team. That he holds the key every time he has the ball in his hand. The captain’s confidence, he believed, was half the task. (Also Read: Mishra gets his break, belatedly)
And I’m very glad to see that from having lost the faith of his captain for so long, the whole world is now talking about Amit. Most importantly, he has Dhoni on his side again. While he has always possessed all the skills necessary to be a wicket-taking leg-spinner, I think his understanding of batsmen’s psychology has been enhanced drastically of late. (Photos: 2/2 for Mishra, India)
It is very important for any spinner to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of every batsman he’s bowling to. He’s like a doctor trying to diagnose a patient’s condition. For example, did you see the pace at which he bowled the deliveries that outwitted both Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo? There was a stark contrast. The one he got Samuels with was tossed up and was very slow in the air. It beat the right-hander in flight. The next one to Bravo was slightly quicker and flatter too. Not to forget that it was a googly.
The general problem with most batsmen around the world these days is that they are no longer used to facing spinners who give a lot of air to the ball. They spend hours in the nets batting against spinners bowling at them at speeds of around 85-87 kmph. Amit bowls much slower and is in the range of 75-77 kmph. They are not used to such slow speeds, and fall prey like the two West Indians continued…