New Delhi: India legspinner Amit Mishra has credited a change in pace as key to his success on the recent ODI tour of Zimbabwe, in which he took 18 wickets at an average 11.61 per wicket to draw level with Javagal Srinath's record for most wickets by an Indian bowler in a bilateral ODI series. "The significant change was the variation of pace," he told Times of India. "Earlier, my deliveries used to come at a slower pace, which allowed the batsman to adjust. Now I am trying to bowl at a pace and still extract spin."
Mishra, 30, also credited some advice from former India legspinners Narendra Hirwani and Anil Kumble. "I was injured for a while last year and I was in NCA for recovery. That's the time I worked with the likes of Anil Kumble, Narendra Hirwani and the other coaches at the academy who helped me become a better bowler," he said. "He [Kumble] told me about the importance of variation in pace and also told me how to out-think a batsman. I worked on my googly with him and that's also paying dividends."
Named in India's ODI squad for the Zimbabwe tour as a specialist spinner alongside allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, Mishra consistently troubled the opposition batsmen. In the first ODI - incidentally his first in over two years - his 3 for 43 played a big role in limiting Zimbabwe between the 30th and 40th overs. In the second he took 2 for 46 and his 4 for 47 help set up the series win. As the tour moved to Bulawayo, Mishra grabbed three wickets in six deliveries to skittle the tail in the fourth game and take his series tally to 12. In the final ODI he claimed 6 for 48, the best bowling figures by an Indian against Zimbabwe in ODIs.
Mishra was now hopeful his run in Zimbabwe would result in more ODIs, which in turn could boost his chances of a Test recall. "I know the challenges will be greater, but that's where I have to show that I have become a better bowler. And for that to happen, I have to be selected first in the Test team. My job is to keep performing," he said.