Amit Mishra: 'Lost my India place because of injury, not form'

Amit Mishra knows what it takes to return to the Indian side; he has been on the sidelines before.

Mishra is back at the city where he last played for India; against England in the 2016 Test at Chepauk.   -  K. Pichumani

Life throws at you several challenges. And, cricket is no different. It does not take long to move from centre-stage to periphery. Comebacks can be hard.

The battle-scarred Amit Mishra has been on the road long enough to realise this. The leg-spinner knows what it takes to return to the Indian side; he has been on the sidelines before.

The grind of the domestic cricket can be demanding. You got to start from scratch. Mishra is back at the city where he last played for India; against England in the 2016 Test at Chepauk. The circle is complete. He smiles.

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But then, the Chennai weather in this time of the year can be a roadblock. Like on Wednesday, here, marred by cloud cover and rain.

Indeed, it was a frustrating wait at the SRMC ground for Mishra and two other Haryana cricketers, off-spinning all-rounder Jayant Yadav and paceman Mohit Sharma, all itching to reclaim their India places.

Mishra, Jayant and Mohit form the nucleus of a potent Haryana attack. And, in a season that culminates with the ODI World Cup, all three have plenty to play for.

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Mishra, the leader of the pack with 76 Test and 64 ODI wickets, said to Sportstar, “The Vijay Hazare tournament is a good opportunity for us.” The leg-spinner who believes in flight said, “I like to deceive the batsmen. But, control is crucial.”

Mishra turns his leg-breaks and does bowl the googly, the top-spinner and the flipper. He said, “Yes, I have the variety but it is important to mix it up well.”

On the present competition among leg-spinners in India, he said, “It’s healthy. But, I am my biggest competitor.” Mishra added, “I lost my India place because of injury, not form. Now, I am fit and confident.”

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His Haryana teammate and leggie Yuzvendra Chahal might have taken Mishra’s India place, but the senior bowler said that both shared a good rapport. “We discuss our craft, think of ways to get batsmen out.”

Although Mishra said that his above-the-eyeline style was closer to that of the legendary Shane Warne, the formidable Anil Kumble was the bowler he admired. “He was such a great match-winner. Played with so much intensity and fight.”

The 35-year-old Mishra felt age was not a factor for selection. “Ability and fitness are.” And, he is fired by his India dream. “I want to play for the country again.”

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