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Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19: Amit Mishra reminds selectors about his presence yet again

  • Amit Mishra's 6 for 13 routed Assam for 81 in a 50-over Vijay Hazare match today for Haryana. Can the leg-spinner make an ODI comeback?
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 21 Sep 2018, 23:14 IST
Amit Mishra New Zealand Vishakhapatnam Vizag 2016 5th ODI
Amit Mishra took 5 wickets in his last ODI appearance for India in October 2016.

If you look at Amit Mishra's last List A (domestic one-dayer), last ODI or last T20 (during the Indian Premier League this year), you will notice that he was the Man of the Match in each game. His team won all the matches and the veteran leg-spinner would hope the national selectors are looking at his performances.

Amit Mishra, despite a stellar record, has quite funnily just managed to play 36 ODI's and 10 T20I's in an international career that has stretched over a period of 14 years. Mishra was brought into the squad in 2002 when Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were at the peak of their form.

He made his ODI debut in 2003 but got a fair run after his Test debut in 2008, where he was replacing an injured Kumble, where his 5-wicket haul resulted in a victory against Australia. He played the next Test alongside Kumble (as Harbhajan was injured), but India's skipper and bowling legend Anil Kumble decided that this match was going to be his last.

Test performances aside, Mishra enjoys one of the best records for any Indian bowler with over 50 ODI wickets. Though he has not managed to get into the squad for either of the four World Cups since he debuted for India, his 64 wickets from 36 ODI's with two five-wicket hauls shows that he is a wicket-taker. His bowling average is 23.60, while his economy rate is 4.72.

His bowling performances include two 'Player of the Series' performances in ODI's, in bilateral tournaments against Zimbabwe (in Zimbabwe) and New Zealand (in India). In the former, he took 18 wickets - the most ever by any bowler in a 5-match ODI series, including a six-wicket haul; in the latter, he took 15 wickets including five in the last match of the series - and that of his ODI career so far.

Mishra's case has been as unfortunate as that of Ajit Agarkar, who manages to find his name among India's top ODI wicket takers despite sporadic appearances through most of his career. A classic example was his latest ousting. After winning the ODI series against New Zealand, where he was filling in for first-choice spinners Ashwin and Jadeja, he was included in India's squad for the only ODI series remaining before the Champions Trophy.

Ashwin and Jadeja played all the matches and performed decently. Mishra only got a chance to play in two of the T20I's that followed, bowling remarkably while his wicket column showed just two wickets. While Jadeja and Ashwin were the only spinners picked for the Champions Trophy, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav's starring performances in their limited opportunities at that time propelled them to ODI selection, and Mishra was pushed to the background.

Amit Mishra's T20 record is even more impressive. IPL's all-time second highest wicket taker with 146 wickets, Mishra has three hattricks in the eleven seasons of the tournament. India's best bowler in the IPL, his 146 wickets have come from just 136 matches at an average of 24.14. He has transformed this form to the international level as well, ending one of the tournament's highest wicket-takers in India's runner-up performance during the World T20 in 2014.

He won Man of the Match award in India's first two matches there. In T20I's, he has taken 16 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 15 and an impressive economy rate of 6.31. He even took 12 wickets in the recently concluded season of the IPL for his favourite franchise Delhi Daredevils, saving the team's grace by winning their last match this season with a three-wicket haul.

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The classical leg-spinner reminded the selectors of his presence yet again, with a 6 for 13 in today's Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day match for Haryana against Assam. He bamboozled the Assam batting line-up, bowling them out for a paltry 81. With as many variations as Kuldeep Yadav and Harayana teammate Yuzvendra Chahal - if not more - the board should be tempted to play him alongside the two spinners - in at least one of the remaining limited-overs series in 2018.

India's veteran leg-spinner, who can also score runs with the bat, certainly has a lot to offer in whatever time he has remaining in his competitive career.

Published 21 Sep 2018, 23:14 IST
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