Back in the mix, back with a zing

Back in the mix, back with a zing

 The first Test match at the Galle International Stadium last week turned out to be a special one for Amit Mishra. Not only did the leg-spinner end a four-year hiatus to play Test cricket, but also marked his return by scalping five wickets.

For most of the match, he bowled well alongside lead spinner R Ashwin, showing how determined he his in making the most of a second lease of life. Extracting appreciable turn and bounce from a helpful track, the 32-year-old showed few nerves of a man who is on a comeback trail.

“There was a little bit of pressure but I knew I had worked very hard on my bowling,” Mishra told the media after a practice session on Tuesday. “All the players in the team were very supportive, especially Virat (Kohli). After each ball, he kept supporting me and so were the coaches. Everyone gave me so much confidence that I didn’t feel I was playing after four years. I feel really confident and I bowled really well in the Test match.”

Mishra, who played his 14th Test match last week, said the key to return to the national team was due to his willingness to learn from past mistakes. “I have worked on the feedback from different people who felt I was slow in the air. I have worked on my pace and variations. And as you have seen, there has been improvement in pace and variations. I believe I can get better still. I am working hard on my bowling and hard work pays off.

“The wickets here are a little slower for batting so I have worked on my bowling, especially on the pace bit. The biggest weapon here in bowling is maintaining a certain pace because batsmen are very good against spin and wickets are slower so maintaining a particular pace while bowling is important and I am doing that.”

Bowling with two more spinners — lead act Ashwin and veteran Harbhajan Singh, also on a comeback trail — can be a demanding task. However, Mishra said he is relishing the task and there is a healthy competition in the side. “I felt very good bowling with both of them because both are experienced bowlers. We have healthy discussions amongst ourselves. When Harbhajan bowls, he takes feedback from me, when I bowl, I take feedback from him. We take and give feedback to Ashwin too. There is a very good atmosphere within the team. We are very positive about the remaining two Test matches.”

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