After toiling hard in the domestic circuit outside the vicinity of millions of cricket lovers for over a decade, leggie Amit Mishra finally got his chance to represent India in Tests. And he grabbed the opportunity with both hands with his stellar performance in his debut Test at Mohali against the mighty Aussies, baffling them with his craft. His performance has raised hopes that he can carry the baton from great Anil Kumble who seems to be on the twilight of his illustrious career. Amit Mishra, in his humble way, speaks to Biswajit Jha of Zeecric.com about his bowling and the life before and after the Mohali Test.
How do you feel about your new found stardom?
It really feels good when people recognize me. It gives me a great satisfaction that the hard work I have put in over the last one decade finally paid off. Besides, I am very happy that I brought joy to my family.
What will be the Diwali gift to your family?
They have already got it. My performance in the Mohali Test is the greatest gift I have ever given to my family.
What are your future plans?
Now that I have got a dream start, I want to play for India as long as possible.
What aspect of your bowling needs improvement?
The process of learning never ends. You will learn as long as you play. At the moment, I am happy with what I am doing. If the seniors and coaches think that I need to improve on certain aspects, I will definitely work on them.
What did Kumble say after your five-for?
He was extremely happy with my performance at Mohali. He asked me to continue with this kind of performance. Not only Kumble, Dhoni and all the seniors of my team encouraged me to do well.
How did you take to leg spin which is considered to be a difficult craft?
Actually, I got inspiration while watching Shane Warne on TV. His classic action and excellent performance with ball encouraged me. Then, Anil bhai (Kumble) also inspired me a lot.
But, if one were to name a bowler as your idol, who would be that person?
It will be Shane Warne.
You got your first chance as early as 2003. But then you faded away from the scene completely. What went wrong actually?
That I still don’t know. I don’t know the reason for my omission after only three ODIs.
But you got your chance pretty early in your career like several other players in India. Don’t’ you think that it’s better to get a national call after playing 4-5 years in domestic cricket?
That depends on any individual how he handles the pressure of international cricket. But it’s true that experience of playing in domestic cricket always helps one to mature as a cricketer.
Isn’t it difficult playing domestic cricket day in and day out without any recognition? How did you feel in those years toiling hard in domestic circuit? Have you ever thought that you won’t get a call again?
It was difficult, but at the same time one must not lose hope. I used to be upset, but my well wishers and president of Haryana Cricket Association Ranbir Singh Mahindra always encouraged me to remain focused. Since I was getting bagful of wickets in domestic circuits, I had hopes…….
And then came IPL, which I think, changed my fortune completely. I came back in the national reckoning again with good performances playing for India-A.
Very few people know that you are a good lower order batsman and a brilliant fielder. Do you want to concentrate on your batting as well?
I always take my batting seriously. I will definitely want to help my team with some good performances with the bat.
Unlike the past, younger generation today wants to become pace bowlers, not spinners. That’s the reason we have lots of good pacers but very few spinners today. What’s your take on that?
I don’t agree that we don’t have quality spinners today. I think for the first time we have a good blend of pace and spin bowlers.
Do you think that we need a good spin academy in line with MRF pace academy to groom our future spinners?
Academy is very important to groom spinners. Though we don’t have separate academy for spin bowling, National Cricket Academy, Bangalore organises spin clinic every year.
Many people want to know how you managed to land in Haryana…
Actually, we belong to Amethi (UP). But my father, who works with the Indian Railways, was posted in Haryana. So I was brought up in Haryana and played my entire cricket there.
On a lighter note, tell me what do you do apart from playing cricket
My entire life is dedicated to cricket. Outside cricket I don’t have much of a life.
Do you watch movies?
Not much. But I like Amitabh Bachchan and his movies.
What about actresses? Who is your favourite actress?
No one as such (shyly).
When do you want to tie the knot?
I want to concentrate entirely on cricket these days. I got a chance after working so hard…I don’t want to fritter away this opportunity.
What’s your favourite cuisine?
I like home-made rajma-chawal.