36 ODIs in 13 years; Amit Mishra is a fighter but not destiny's favourite child

Indian cricket has not given Amit Mishra his due

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra bowled brilliantly against New Zealand in the final ODI, taking 5 wickets to destroy the Kiwis completely. The destruction was so absolute that the Kiwis were bundled out for 79 runs. India got their fourth biggest win in terms of runs. Amit Mishra was adjudged the man of the match for his stupendous performance. He also got the man of the series award for taking 15 wickets in five matches. Apart from the wickets he took, he bowled at a good economy rate. He led India’s spin attack comprising rookies– Axar Patel and Kedar Jadhav– and played an instrumental role in containing New Zealand batsmen after the pacers went for runs in early overs.

At 34, Amit Mishra was the most experienced bowler in the Indian side . He has an international career spanning 13 long years. But all he got to play in these years is 36 ODIs. The veteran spinner made his debut in 2003 against South Africa. Since then he has been in and out of the team for no fault of his own.

Amit Mishra has been playing under the shadows of star spinners like Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and now Ravichandran Ashwin. But whenever he got the chance to play, he proved his might. Like in this series. This was, perhaps, among the few times when he got the chance to play all the matches of the series. He was given this opportunity because the team management wanted R Ashwin to rest for the upcoming Test-heavy season. Infact, he only gets the chance to play when the star spinners are injured or rested.

Commentators Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman caught up with Amit Mishra after the match. Sehwag asked how Mishra kept himself motivated in these 13 years. Mishra opened up for the first time.

“It was frustrating. I would get angry as I would sit out. I would think what have I done that I am sitting out. But all I can do is work hard and perform whenever I get the chance,” he said.

Mishra told the commentators that coach Anil Kumble had strictly advised him to lose weight or he would not let him play in the eleven. Mishra said he worked hard in losing the kilos and also on his batting. And the result is for everyone to see.