Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra continues the rich Indian tradition of spin bowling in the era of fast-paced cricket. Having started Test cricket with a lot of promise two years back against the touring Australian side with a five-for, he gave the impression of seamlessly fitting into the shoes of legendary leggie Anil Kumble. But Mishra has not been able to maintain that promise, playing musical chairs with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the Indian Test team as the spin partner of Harbhajan Singh.
Though the talented leg-spinner- who plays Ranji Trophy for Haryana and IPL for Delhi Daredevils- is very much a regular feature at the Test level, in ODIs and T20s, he is in and out of the team despite having performed moderately well in the limited opportunities that came his way.
In an exclusive chat with Zeecric.com’s Biswajit Jha, Mishra speaks on his performance, on India’s chance in the upcoming World Cup and on recent no-ball fiasco in Sri Lanka among many other things.
Are you happy with your performance so far?
Yeah, I am happy with whatever I have done for my country so far. In the last Test against Sri Lanka I bowled well. I even made contributions with the bat.
Are you disappointed that you were not given enough chance in the Sri Lankan tri-series despite having bowled well in the last Test?
I have tried to do well with whatever opportunity has come my way. I want to play for India in ODIs too, and want to be a part of the World Cup team.
You have not been able to replicate the success of your initial Tests despite having started your career with a bang (a five-for against Australia). What’s the reason?
I am trying hard to do well in every format. With experience, I will definitely improve on my bowling.
You are slow through the air and the fizz is missing in your bowling. Are you working to improve on these?
I am putting a lot of effort in the nets to rectify whatever shortcomings I have. I have been told to improve on certain aspects of my bowling by some experts and I am working on those.
Have you talked to any of the former spin greats to improve your bowling?
I have talked to Anil bhai, Bhajji regarding this. The more I play, the better I do at the international level. I have not played enough cricket to cement my place in the team. Most of the matches that I have played so far are against sub-continental teams, who play spin really well.
Are India really ready for the 2011 ODI World Cup?
I am hundred percent sure that we will win World Cup this time. One can’t win matches daily. We will win some matches and lose some. Once our senior players get fit and come back into the side, we will be a completely different outfit. I am sure we will be able to form a good ODI team before the World Cup.
Do you think that our bowling is little weak?
I don’t think that our bowling is weak. Some bowlers are injured and that’s primarily the reason you are thinking like that. Once they recover, we will be a good bowling side, too.
But we don’t have good all-rounders and that’s why team management is giving a chance to Ravindra Jadeja despite him not having performed well, especially with the bat…
I think we have other all-rounders too. …Viru bhai can bowl and so does Yuvraj. Harbhajan Singh can bat…I too can bat a bit. So, I don’t think we don’t have all-rounders in the team.
Do think that India should play a specialist batsman at No. 7 in place of an all-rounder?
These things are decided by the team management and I can’t comment on that.
Do you think that India are playing too much cricket these days which resulted in many players picking up injuries?
It depends on the player. If anybody thinks he is playing too much cricket, he has the option of taking rest. We have already started a rotation policy…I think things will be right in coming days.
What’s the reason that we don’t have any good spinner apart from Bhajji, Pragyan and you?
It may be because cricket has become fast-paced, the surfaces are more batting friendly these days. But it’s not true that spinners are not coming up.In fact, there is no scarcity of good spinners in our country.
Is Twenty20 cricket the reason behind the downfall of spinners in India?
I think every spinner prepares himself separately for different formats. So, I don’t think T20 cricket is the reason behind our failure to produce good spinners.
You play with New Zealand great Daniel Vettori in Delhi Daredevils team who is a great spinner in all the three formats. What have you learnt from him?
I always talk to him. Whenever I need any suggestion, I talk to him over phone. He is a great guy who is always ready to help others.
Do you think India need a spin coach like England, who appointed Mustaq Ahmed?
We have some great spinners of yesteryears who can be reached anytime. We have Anil bhai, even our national selector (Narendra) Hirwani was a good spinner. We can take help from these players whenever we want any help from them. Everyone knows what he needs to do to improve his bowling. But whether we need a spin coach has to be decided by the team management. Whatever they feel right, they will do.
Can India beat the Australians when they tour India in October?
I can’t say we will win the series, but I can say that we have the potential of doing very well against them.
What’s your reaction about Suraj Randiv’s decision to bowl a no-ball to deny Virender Sehwag his century?
I think Sehwag deserves the hundred. Why should you want to break the spirit of a gentleman’s game that cricket is? If you don’t want him to reach his century or any other milestone, get him out. Why do you need to take the unethical route to stop a cricketer? How will you feel if anybody does the same thing to you?
Do you think that the particular no-ball rule should be changed?
The governing body should take a call on this. I can’t comment on whether the rule should be changed or not.
Do you think that the punishment meted out to Suraj Radiv is justified?
Sri Lanka are a good ODI team and they should adhere to the spirit of the game. But what they did is not a sign of a good team. Anybody who does such a thing should be punished.