Wrist spin is a challenging art that necessitates not only hours of practise but also a leader who backs its practitioner in vital moments of the game, according to Amit Mishra, one of the IPL’s most effective leg-spinners. Mishra maintains that strong captaincy is crucial in the evolution of leg-spinners, despite the fact that Indian cricket has gone from finger spin to wrist spin and back to finger spin in just four years. “Any leg-spinner needs a good captain and when the bowler is under attack, you need some kind of skipper,” Mishra told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“…a captain who practically knows the psyche of a leg-spinner,” Mishra, who will be back in action for Delhi Capitals in the IPL this season, said.
Mishra has appeared in 68 games for India in all formats, and there aren’t many quality leg-break bowlers on the horizon except Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and Rahul Chahar. Rahul Tewata is more of a batting all-rounder than a bowling all-rounder.
“We’ve had some decent leg-spinners in the last 5-6 years, so we’ll have more consistency when we get more of these bowlers who have learned the trade and are willing to pass on their skills to the next generation.”
“The passing of information is very important, particularly for leg-spin, which is an art form,” Mishra said. Mishra has 160 wickets from 150 IPL games, second only to Lasith Malinga’s 170.
“I’m not suggesting we don’t have strong leg-spinners; we do, but many of them need instruction. You will see a good number of them until the guidance is open.”
What characteristics distinguish a strong wrist spinner?
“You should know how to bowl in different conditions and which combination is best for which case. A wrist spinner can also aspire to be someone who can play the restricting position if necessary, in addition to being a decent wicket-taker.”
Batsmen have developed with a variety of strokes, making bowling extremely difficult, especially in the T20 format.
“Because batsmen are still looking to strike you in T20, particularly in the IPL, you can’t afford to relax. Remember how much variety there has been in T20 strokeplay over the years, and how the bowler must also develop.”
He last played for India in 2017, and ironically, he was Man of the Match in his last ODI series with 15 wickets against New Zealand in 2016, before being dropped for good after two more white-ball games (in T20 format).
Is he still a survivor of the myth that he was still sluggish in the air?
“I can’t discourage people from making their own conclusions, but the fact that I’ve been playing the world’s toughest T20 league for the past 13 seasons is a testament to my skills.”
“I’m also second all-time in the IPL for T20 wicket-takers. Insaan, isse zyada kya performance karega? (Is there anything that one can do?) In an elite league with fierce competition, I am a top scorer.
“My role is to win, and I’ve been doing it for a long time, so what other people think of me is irrelevant.
“It’s pointless to be cynical or bitter because it serves no reason. I continue to play because I really enjoy this game. If my body allows, I will play domestic cricket again next year.”
Rishabh Pant first appeared in the IPL in 2008, when Virender Sehwag was the captain of the Delhi Daredevils and Rishabh Pant was a chubby kid happily hitting the balls in his hometown of Rourkee. Pant, a schoolboy at the time, will be leading him in his 14th IPL season in 2021.
“I had a strong relationship with Virender Sehwag, and I have a wonderful relationship with Rishabh Pant as well. I’m overjoyed that he’s the captain. He has transformed himself in every facet of his career, health, and innate existence, as shown by the fact that he has totally transformed his game in only 4-5 months.”