Amit Mishra, the India legspinner, said a significant variation in pace had brought him success on the recent tour to Zimbabwe.
Mishra, who last played an ODI in 2011 before being picked for the playing XI in Zimbabwe, finished as the highest wicket-taker in the series, with 18 wickets in five matches at an average of 11.80, equalling Javagal Srinath's record for most wickets in an ODI bilateral series. His performances in the series included a career-best 6 for 48 in the fifth ODI.
"The significant change was the variation of pace," Mishra told Times of India. "Earlier, my deliveries used to come at a slower pace, which allowed the batsman to adjust. Now I am trying to bowl at a pace and still extract spin."
Mishra revealed that the changes were a result of better fitness and tips from former India bowlers Narendra Hirwani and Anil Kumble.
"I was injured for a while last year and I was in NCA for recovery," Mishra said. "That's the time I worked with the likes of Anil Kumble, Narendra Hirwani and the other coaches at the academy who helped me become a better bowler. He [Kumble] told me about the importance of variation in pace and also told me how to out-think a batsman. I worked on my googly with him and that's also paying dividends."
In spite of an ODI debut in 2003, Mishra has played just 20 one-dayers and 13 Tests for India since his debut in 2008. He hopes that his performances against Zimbabwe will better his chances of playing more Tests for India against stronger teams.
"I know the challenges will be greater, but that's where I have to show that I have become a better bowler. And for that to happen, I have to be selected first in the Test team. My job is to keep performing."