Zimbabwe v India, 3rd ODI, Harare July 28, 2013

Mishra makes most of opportunities

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Amit Mishra must feel the pressure to establish himself in the Indian team more than the other untested hopefuls on this tour to Zimbabwe. The wrong side of 30, it had been two years before this tour since Mishra last played an ODI and his tally of 18 ODIs in the ten years since his international debut suggests underuse of his talent.

Yet without the long-term confidence of the selectors on his side, he has little choice but to keep plugging away and make the most of whatever opportunities come his way. With nine wickets in three games in Zimbabwe, including a Man of the Match-winning 4 for 47 on Sunday, he's done just that on this tour.

But while Mishra's performances can't have hurt his chances, when India A head to South Africa in August he'll be heading in the opposite direction. He isn't part of the Cheteshwar Pujara-led group which is staking a claim for India's Test tour of South Africa later this year.

"I'm not in the Test side," Mishra conceded. "I'll try and do my job in the next two matches, and then it's up to the selectors. I've been waiting a long time for this and I'm doing my best and it's working for me now."

Mishra has found particular success with his variations on the traditional legspinner's delivery against Zimbabwe. His front-of-the-hand quicker delivery has helped to tie the Zimbabwe batsmen down, while his googly has brought about six of his nine dismissals .

"I've done lots of hard work on my googlies and variations and it's paying off," he said. "When I came here I was just thinking about the conditions and how to bowl on these kinds of tracks. I've spoken a lot with TP [Trevor Penney] and Duncan [Fletcher] who have given me a few tips, which I've been working hard on."

With so many of the touring Indians hoping to use this trip to win further honours with the national side, Mishra suggested that their was a positive competitive streak among his team-mates. "All the players have done so well in domestic cricket, so they came here with the confidence," he said.

"There's a lot of healthy competition going on - everyone wants to do well for India, so it's working for the Indian team."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • prakashcbe on July 31, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    he deserves it.............

  • bestofluckindia on July 30, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    In South Africa, India should get 5 bowlers in the 11. MSD, Fletcher and co need to evaluate those 8 losses in Eng and Aus. how many innings did india get 20 wkts or got them allout in an innings. Also when eng toured india we india were unable to get wkts on rank turners. Please comment on my 11. 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2 .Gautam Gambhir (both lefties to negate philander/steyn outswingers) 3. Pujara 4. SRT 5. kohli 6. MSD 7. Ashwin 8. B kumar 9. Mishra 10. yadav 11. unadkat. (offspinner, legspinner, left arm fast, Right arm fast, Right arm swing)

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Mishra has the ability to weave magic when in full flow. Mishra also has the ability to be helplessly thrashed all round the park.. weak soul, eh??

  • Al_Bundy1 on July 30, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    Parvez Rasool is India's best spinner for the longer versions of the game. He is a classic off spinner in the mold of Swann. Kohli and Duncan should give him a chance in the next 2 ODI. How would you know about a player's claibre if you don't give him a chance? I agree with other posters on this board - Vinay Kumar is a club level bowler who should not have been selected in the first place. Scrap the seniority system. Give a chance to merit.

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Outside of India, Ashwin has been a miserable failure. Mishra's 2 tests against England didn't go well either but he did well in ODIs against WI on WI pitches. On Indian pitches, they (Jadeja, Ojha, Ashwin, Mishra) will all do well. The 2 spinners for the SA tour need to be chosen from Jadeja, Ashwin & Mishra. Of the 3 Mishra looks most likely to take wickets, and Jadeja the most economical as well as the best batsman & fielder (of these 3).

  • beggars on July 30, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Mishra deserves a test call. He has been bowling consistently in domestic matches,IPL and carrying it forward.He is a class bowler with variations in his arsenal.Here to stay Mishraji! Thats what his team mates call him .

  • sitlanishiv on July 30, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    would love to c rahul sharma......gain fitness n form n b back in odi's....he's a class act no doubt

  • AllInFairNess on July 30, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    @abhu123, both Ashwin and Ohja played only 7 (3 + 4) matches so far in their flexing carrier out side India. Ashwin played 3 test in AUS where as Ohja played 3 in SL and 1 in BD.

  • UbiquitousWALL on July 30, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Leg spinners are always going to leak runs, but what the good ones will also do, is take wickets. Name one leg spinner apart from Shane Warne who has had absolute control. You might say Kumble, but Kumble, as awesome as he was, was never the conventional leg spinner, Mishra is. You might then name Mushtaq Ahmed from Pakistan, yes, he had very good control but was not all that effective because his googlies turned more than his leg spinners ever did, and over time batsmen started picking him. If you look for a leg spinner who is miserly as well as effective, you might have to clone Warne. Its an art that is a gift and cannot be mastered just by practice, and we will just have to hope and wait for another Warne, and as an Indian, I hope he's from India. Mishra is a good option on Indian pitches. His recent performances are against Zimbabwe, who with due respect cannot be compared the mighty South Africans. Lets not read too much into it. Put him against quality batsmen and then decide.

  • Naresh28 on July 30, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Well as an Indian fan - its nice to know there is so much competition for spinner /batsman spots. What about pacers? It will definitely help our game. Right now we have lots of seamers as well - imagine if you select both Praveen Kumar and Bhuvi on a seaming pitch. They may just run through a side. Mishra was a top bowler at the IPL. His chances of making the squad have improved. At the end of the day a captain like Dhoni can select the best 11 knowing his players. Also Dhoni makes a better captain as he plays in a position where he can absorb the pressure.