Karnataka v Haryana, Ranji Trophy, Group B, Hubli, 2nd day

Mishra latest in India's spin search

India's hunt for a solid second spinner has led them to the Haryana legspinner, who says he has sorted out his no-ball problems and improved his batting

Siddarth Ravindran in Hubli

December 23, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Amit Mishra's unbeaten 202 was his maiden first-class century, Karnataka v Haryana, Ranji Trophy, Group B, Hubli, 2nd day, December 23, 2012
Amit Mishra says he has been working hard on his batting over the past couple of years Siddarth Ravindran / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

At lunch on the second day in Hubli, Haryana had reached an improbable 412 for 7, thanks to maiden first-class centuries from lower-order batsmen Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav. It was turning into a game-defining partnership and both batsmen walked towards the dressing room satisfied with a solid morning's work.

The entire Haryana dressing-room was applauding the pair's record-breaking partnership, but just as Mishra crossed the ropes, Haryana coach Ashwini Kumar rushed out and delivered the news that Mishra (who went on to score an unbeaten 202) was picked for India's one-day squad for the Pakistan series. There wasn't too much of a reaction from Mishra, and he walked on to be congratulated by his team-mates. Once Mishra was indoors, though, he let out a loud, excited yell which showed just how much the recall meant to him.

It's been more than 18 months since he represented the country in any format, a casualty of the disastrous tour of England when India lost their No. 1 Test ranking. As England's batsmen plundered the bowling, Mishra too had a rough time, with a chronic overstepping problem worsening his case, with 13 no-balls in two innings.

Bring that issue up again, and Mishra is quick to counter, even before the question has been completed. "I don't think it is a problem," he said. "Before, when I came back from injury I was aware of the problem, and worked on it, and now in the last six-seven matches I have bowled only about four or five no-balls, so I'm not worried."

India's spin bowling, for so long a major strength, has been weakened in recent times, especially with Harbhajan Singh losing form and his place. R Ashwin has established himself as the lead spinner in all formats but the back-up position in limited-overs cricket is still up for grabs. Legspinner Rahul Sharma rose to prominence in the 2011 IPL but hasn't been able to hold down a spot, and Piyush Chawla was part of India's World Cup and World Twenty20 squads without quite having the record meriting selection. Consistency has also eluded the allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan. Pragyan Ojha has established himself in the Test side but the selectors haven't given him a long run in limited-overs sides despite being impressive in the IPL over several seasons.

India's spin problems have been eased by the emergence of Yuvraj Singh as a reliable spinner and fifth bowler, but the search for the second specialist spinner still persists. Which is why Mishra says he wasn't entirely surprised at being selected. "The way the new selectors are giving chances to new players who have been doing well … I have also done well in this season," he said. "So I was aware that maybe if I did well then at any time I could get the call."

The battle for a place in the XI is likely to be between Mishra and Jadeja, who has stormed his way back to national contention on the back of two Ranji triple-centuries in a month. Though Mishra may not reach the batting heights Jadeja has, he has repeatedly shown he is a handy batsman.

Even on that ill-fated England tour, there were fighting innings of 43 and 84 in the final Test at The Oval. This season Mishra has hit a crucial second-innings half-century to lift Haryana to their only win so far, over Delhi. And in Hubli, when he inside-edged a ball onto his pads on 109, he walked away and shadow-practised driving the ball before taking guard again.

"You can't just play as a bowler, the one-day format is like that," Mishra said. "You may be expected at any time to chip in with some runs, if some batsman is batting with you, then if you are able to score some runs yourself then it is a big help for the team, the partnership of 100-150 that you put on will be a boost for the team. It also helps in getting you a place in the XI."

Mishra says he has been working hard on his batting over the past couple of years. He's only been required to bat three times in his 15-ODI career, which means irrespective of his improved batting prowess, India will need him more for the wickets he can take. He was terrific on that front in his last one-day series, when he took a chart-topping 11 wickets in five ODIs in the Caribbean.

In India's muddled selection scenario where Twenty20 form can lift you to the Test squad (Rahul Sharma) and vice-versa, Mishra finds himself back in the ODI mix though he hasn't played the format even at the domestic level since October 2011. It's been a stop-start international career for Mishra so far, something he is desperate to change with his latest lifeline.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Mishra is a good choice since he is much improved in recent days while playing Ranji Trophy matches. This Haryana lad shown his mettle as a big batsman too. He deserves to be picked up in the national side in any format. He is like Yuvaraj in the team. A sound cricketer. Deserves to be encouraged.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (December 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

There are soo many batsmen mishra ji...all we want is a geniune spinner...the article has over weighted Ashwin as a front line spinner..but he too like you is focussin on batting doing nothing in spin department..if you play in final XI..improve 100times in your bowling & your place is assured..in all good senses

Posted by Alok505 on (December 25, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Mishra is getting chances because there is hardy any right arm spinner available in india. I am very surprised to see more than a deozen left arm Spinners are now playing in Ranji Setup. Look the list - Mumbai has three lefty spiner Chavan, abdullah , H.Singh, Karnataka have kp Appana, Delhi have Vikash Mishra , Maharastra have Darekar , MP have Ankit Sharma . Up have Murtza, Jharkhand have S Nadeem, Orissa have Dheeraj Singh , railway have m kartik,Hyderabad have p Ojha, Punjab have B Sharma & list continue... almost all the state sides....., Not a good sign at all

Posted by CivilGaurav on (December 25, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

Mishra, as per the domestic records is a better bowler than Chawla in all three formats. Rahul and Ojha have also done reasonably well in ODIs and List A and are on par with Mishra. Mishra's batting gives him the edge so this is a correct selection. But do not understand why Chawla is given so many chances and why is Rahul even considered for India A first class matches and in the Test team when he has an average of over 50 in first class.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Ashwin is more of a batsman than a bowler, especially overseas. Great technique against the short ball. If Jadeja does not succeed in test cricket, Ashwin could be tried in tests as a no 6 batsman and a fifth bowler. This means some specialist bowlers have to take wickets. Harbhajan also improved his batting but his bowling went down afterward. Irfan Pathan is neither here nor there. In test cricket, having one allrounder is handy, but not essential. Having four wicket-taking bowlers is essential. With Yadav unfit now, India has none.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Calling the selection scenario 'muddled' is very polite. Its a ridiculous world where Rahul Sharma -who did ok if not great- with the A team in NZ is overlooked in favour of the inferior LIMITED OVERS bowler Mishra. Even Chawla is a better ODI bowler though like Mishra lacks the necessary control.

And whilst we're on this topic, utterly insane that Mithun can be selected for a T20 squad. Abu Nechim - to name one- is a much better T20 bowler. Selectors do not know the difference between different formats

Posted by MVSegar on (December 25, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Ashwin has won Man of the series in 2 of the 3 series he has played in India.Now even if you say he was not effective against a better lineup in England,I would say harbhajan and ojha were ineffective too.We got to admit we are in transition and we should give these guys a more time to prove themselves.Mind you even the legendary kumble and bhajji were ordinary during their early careers and did well once they got established.I would still back ojha and ashwin to do well in the bigger formats.I would want Ashwin to be the lead spinner in ODIs and use UV as the 2nd spinner wherein T20s may be guys like Rahul and jadeja who can be stingy can be used.Ojha is a typical test spinner,no guile but lots of control and can hold one end when there is no help

Posted by faizan_feroz on (December 25, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

4 to 54 no balls in six to seven matches and yet he is not worried , intersting !

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

Any reason why Ojha is not considered in the one day scheme of things. He was the only bowler who looked capable of picking up wickets in the test series. I think he is a good bowler, bowls good line and lenght and above all has good control. If his batting is the only reason he is not considered, then i think it is ridiculous. We need specialist bowlers please. If 7 batsman can't do the job then we dont deserve to win

Posted by Nish_US on (December 25, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

I hope that Misra looks at these comments (He should as he never gets an article written about him that often and I guess is popular enough) and realizes what he needs to do or what the fans want him to do

Concentrate on your bowling and no-ball problem is something I never understood how a spinner can end up with....even one no-ball per match

Posted by pulkit10 on (December 25, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

Who cares if he is a handy bat? The more important question is: can he take 10 wickets?

India are falling into the same trap as England. No need to play bowlers just because they can bat. Only recently have England remedied the situation (with results to show for it). Who cares if a Bresnan or a Broad or a Harbajhan can score a 50 at the end? That's not their merit for selection. I wouldn't hire a chef just because he knew how to drive. The job of a bowler is to take 10 wickets and that should be the sole reason for selection and maybe fielding as well. Batting is just an asset, if you have it, great! but no worries if you don't.

Posted by crick_wizard on (December 25, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

why are bowlers getting obsessed about batting? its true that no bowler can now afford to be like a geniune tail ender anymore..but what india desperately needs now is not batsmen, but bowlers who can get wichets..and for spinners who can SPIN THE BALL...when Harbajan's form was declining, instead of fixing his bowling he started spending hours in the nets to improve his batting and now he finds himself out of the team...guys pls focus on what is your speciality and what you are good at, instead of trying to be a jack of all trades..I think mishra would be much better test bowler than in limited overs...

Posted by mlkt on (December 25, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

the only way indian spin attack can gain its grip back is by recalling RECALLING HARBHAJAN SINGH......this may sound ridiculous to some...but he is at present our most experienced spinner....he should be recalled and given the responsibilty of lead spinner...and asked to play mentor's role for next generation of spinners.....and he should have the backing of the captain(not like in mumbai, where he was taken as 3rd spinner and bowled less than half the no of overs bowled by ashwin or ojha)......he may not give u an extraordinary success...but he may give our spin attack some stabilty........ASHWIN IS A GOOD TALENT....but as has been our tradition, we r putting too much pressure on him by considering him our main spinner....whenever we get players who can do both with bat and bowl, we destroy them by labelling them our specialist lead bowler or batsman...we did this with agarkar, irfan pathan, and now we r doing it with ashwin.....

Posted by siddhantmani on (December 25, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

current crop of bowlers are available are the worst lot we have in the last 25 years... 80s had Kapil-Ghavri, Doshi (!) who even won us a test in Melbourne 1981, 90s had srinath - prasad/ then Kumble-Harbhajan-Srinath and a young Zaheer was probably the best bowling quartet we ever had.... Today, not one of the 4/5 selected in ANY format is fit to be in the team - Yuvraj having best bowling figures in the last 2 T20s is a case to point.

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

where is Rahul sharma..!! ?? thought he could become the sucessor of kumble ...!!!! and still presistin with gambir....he cant even clear the ropes....!!!! there is no hope for Indian cricket untill the srinivasan goes from BCCI..

Posted by basusri133b on (December 25, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

Mishra is definitely better than Piyush Chawla. I think it is time to introduce the young under nineteen Harmeet Singh. He is a left arm spinner with a fluid bowling action reminiscent of the great Bishen Singh Bedi. We should stop messing around with the pitches. We ended up with egg on our faces in the recently concluded Test series with England. The wicket should be sporting to both batsmen & bowlers.

We should also use the services of our great spinners like Bedi, Prasanna & Venkataraghavan.

Unfortunately, the main impediment in Indian Cricket is the BCCI. Until this organization is reformed, Indian cricket will not progress.

Posted by cric_mojo on (December 25, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

Ashwin spinning effect... .converts Mumbai turning track to flat track

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Ojha, Yuvraj and and Mishra are all better spinners than Ashvin. But EVERYONE is better than Chawla.

Here are the spin options we have, for one-day cricket, in order of skill:

1. Pragyan Ojha 2. Yuvraj Singh 3. Rahul Sharma 4. Harbhajan Singh 5. Amit Mishra 6. Ashvin .... 1.4 billion. My Mother 1.4 billion and 1. Piyush Chawla

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 0:39 GMT)

Somebody write midget after midget coming in as bowlers. Very true. Height is a big plus for bowlers. Take the case of Kumble. He extracted bounce and lift rather than spin to trouble the batsmen. Mishra though a reasonably good spinner, would find it difficult to contain runs in abridged version.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (December 24, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

Mr Ravindran only in a BCCI led by Srinivsan can Aswin be considered an automatic selection. In my entire memory of watching Indian cricket in fact actually any country's cricket have I ever seen a bowler hit for so many sixes all the time and still considered an automatic selection.It is absolutely criminal to see Ashiwn continue in this Indian team any longer.On the field he is a liability and in bowling less said the better.He is not in the team for his batting.

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (December 24, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

Very funnyAkexk400. The tall and athletic ones go to Bollywood. But I applaud mishra he gives India a lower order bat. Agree no one can really SPIN in the current squad. They bowl to save runs not take wickets.

Posted by 1_234 on (December 24, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

India need a specialist spinner, may be with very little batting skills. This guy, a spinner, is working hard to improve his batting. Ridiculous.

Posted by street_smart on (December 24, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

why not murali kartik? will be better than others

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 24, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

Both has small hands. Both float the ball and do not spin. 1.4 billion people i only see midget after midget and unathletic.

Posted by torsha on (December 24, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

He is better than Chawla any day.

Posted by Mill1 on (December 24, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

I'm sorry but how can you say that Ashwin has established himself as the lead spinner in all formats. Pragyan Ojha should be ahead of him in tests. In fact as you suggest, Ojha appears to be treated harshly as opposed to Ashwin. Ojha has already done well in limited overs cricket (ipl) and performed brilliantly for Surrey in all formats in his time in England. At least Ojha has taken some responsibility and gone and played in overseas (England) conditions, as opposed to Ashwin. You still have to have a mix of youth with experience. For that matter, bring in Mohammed Kaif and Murali Karthik (India's best spinner, and v.successful in English county cricket). Mishra is at least better than Piyush Chawla. Looking from the outside, i just can't see how some of these selection decisions are made...somethiing stinks!

Posted by sharidas on (December 24, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

I wish the selectors are brave enough to try youngsters like Harmeet Singh, Baba Aparajith, Unmukt Chand and Sandeep Sharma. If we need to do well in future, we need to gamble a bit.

Posted by Indialover on (December 24, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

If Mishra grabbed this opportunity well then he would get a call in test cricket also.

Posted by ak_gr8 on (December 24, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

India need a good spinner like warne/murali/kumble even if he has a Chris martin batting avg ........

Posted by rsrinath on (December 24, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

@landl47 in that match India had batted two inngs while england batted only once(first)..so this comparison is not proper....mishra is definitely dangerous in Indian conditions and far better than chawla....it was a big surprise that the selectors picked chawla ahead of mishra for the fourth test..

Posted by hnlns on (December 24, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

I think he would be a better choice than Piyush Chawla, if his problems mentioned have been sorted out and he can bat and contribute at least a double-digit score, if not a 50. Presently, we have so many top order batsmen scoring single digit scores repeatedly that even a double digit score would be most welcome.

Posted by LeftBrain on (December 24, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

I find it ironic that despite of being one of the better batting sides, India always pack their team with batsmen, and still want their bowlers to bat. What is the point of havinf so many good batsmen if bowlers still have to chip in and bail them out. Irfan Pathan was destroyed because he was told to focus on batting despite India having Veru, Tendu, Dravid, Laxman and Dhoni with other youngsters as well. If all of these good batsmen can not bat with confidence and still need a insurance plociy of bowlers being able to bat, why are they considered good batsmen at all? India need bowlers who can take wickets, not bowlers who can bat.

Posted by Jay.Raj on (December 24, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

Most of the indian bowlers (ashwin,chawla, mishra,pathan) are concentrating on their batting more than bowling. Its no surprise because in indian pitches its easier to score runs than pick up wickets. If you want to become a permanent indian bowler, you really need to work hard on your bowling and learn variations.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

Yes Aaditya, but it would be nicer to remember Mishra for his bowling performance nonetheless !

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (December 24, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

I would like to reassure all the doubting Thomasses that in England, Mishra had a serious no ball problem apart from the cold weather which coincided with India' s tour there in 2011. For a leg spinner it is crucial that he is not too worried about his delivery stride. It is only then that he can bring into play his skills and the planning that goes to get a batsman out. If he is worried about overstepping he just cannot bowl. Mishra is a classical leg spinner and has all the tricks in the book, the flight and deception. The comparison with Swann in the Oval Test looks striking on the face of it. But I feel that it is unfair to judge the merit of Amit on that basis alone. He is a good bowler who just needs some confidence. A captain like Dhoni cannot do that. It would need someone like Dravid or even Gambhir to have brought out the best of Mishra. Shane Warne was lucky to have captains like Border,Taylor Waugh mostly and Ponting when Shane was already a great.A good captain is crucial.

Posted by Nish_US on (December 24, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

Please search for spinners who are striving to get better at spin bowling than batting...

may be a good time to try out harmeet singh for tests and baba aparajith for ODIs.. seen the under 19 and these two stood out.

Posted by Nish_US on (December 24, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

Harbhajan, Ashwin - both have been batting brilliantly, but not performing enough with the ball and now misra says he is practicing batting..

Please do not waste those 20 mins practicing batting.. but please concentrate on your bowling, if you cannot take 4 wickets in an innings but can score a 50, it is not going to win the match for the team, may be you can save a match in 15, or prolong the in-evitable...but if you score 0 and take the 3-4 wickets, then you may not save that one odd match with the bat, but you will win more matches for india...

ofcorse I am talking about TESTS...

Thats where we lost big time and should carefully rebuild.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

going nice with good bating and bowling....he had good partnership with sachin during enland tour ......nice to remember!!!

Posted by landl47 on (December 24, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

Mishra was dropped because on a pitch where Graeme Swann took 9-208 in the match, Mishra took 0-170 and India lost by an innings. Yes, he batted decently, but he's not supposed to be in the side for his batting. Like Ashwin, if he bats well but can't get wickets, India loses. Good luck to him, but there isn't much in his record that suggests he'll be a great international bowler- unless, of course, he can develop a congenitally deformed arm!

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 24, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

Mishra is pure test class spinner. I personally wouldn't waste his talent by picking him in ODI and ignoring him in longer formats. Rahul Sharma is the best limited overs kind bowler. After performing decently, he was dropped for some unknown reasons and never found the place again. Chawla gets place ahead of Rahul is just a joke..

Posted by aaditya24 on (December 23, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

I will always remember this knock bcoz this was the 1st time i saw a first class 100 live.Mishra was truly gutsy.The moment he came out to bat when his team was in trouble you could sense that there was some resolve in his batting.he attacked the spinners from the go and made his intentions clear.Great knock!Will cherish it forever!:)

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