Talented leg-spinner's recent performances have been one of the biggest positives for Team India's success in limited overs
The biggest positive surfacing from India's performance in the Asia Cup and the World T20 has been the success of Amit Mishra. The leg break bowler emerged as the Man of the Match in the first two encounters of the World T20 against strong teams like Pakistan and West Indies and has propelled himself to be among the leading wicket-takers in the tournament with a bunch of scalps in all the league matches.
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Amit Mishra. Pic/AFP
What has appealed most about his bowling has been the ability to keep the batsmen quiet in a format that suits them the most, and where they have decided to take risks, it has invariably led them to fall in trouble-land.
'Can't assess in T20s'
Bishan Singh Bedi, a member of the great Indian spin quartet of the 1960s and 70s, explains: "Mishra is making his presence felt by merely putting the ball where it should be. A good ball is a good ball in any form of the game.
"You can only assess a person (player) over a period of time. You can't assess a person in T20s. Any spinner needs a longer spell to establish his credentials."
In the two ODI matches that he played in the Asia Cup, Mishra gave away just 28 and 21 runs in his complete quota of overs against Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In all the four league matches of the World T20, his average stands the lowest of the tournament so far at 8.77 (among bowlers who've bowled a minimum of 4 overs) which indicates that the
wickets have not been an expensive purchase.
While Mishra has always made useful contributions in the opportunities that he has had in the past with the national team, he has not always returned with match-winning performances to make a compelling case for himself to be picked again.
Mishra's resurgence this time was flagged off with the IPL last year but the highlight was during India's tour to Zimbabwe when the leading India spinner, R Ashwin was rested, and Mishra played in his place. He returned after topping the bowling charts in the five-match ODI series.
He has stood out in his recent set of matches with his ability to flight and deceive the batsmen with the traditional legbreak or with a googly. While the pitches in Bangladesh have been a huge support, Mishra's courage in giving the ball lot of air apart from bowling a bit slow have been the reasons behind his recent success.
An example was Marlon Samuels' stumping when he was lured out of his crease in the match against the West Indies in the World T20. Bedi provides a technical assessment: "The quicker you bowl, the faster it goes to the bat and the faster it goes off the bat. That is why it is tough to hit somebody like Mishra.
The slower you are, you have got to be technically very sound and physically very powerful to clear the field." While India have played with three spinners in every game of the league stage, Mishra has made sure that his contributions have not been lost in the collective lot.