Narendra Hirwani believes Amit Mishra (in picture) desired for long to gain the trust of MS Dhoni © AFP
Narendra Hirwani believes Amit Mishra (in picture) desired for long to gain the trust of MS Dhoni © AFP

Mar 25, 2014


Former India leg-spinner and national selector, Narendra Hirwani has lauded Amit Mishra for his new-found success and his stellar performances for India in the ongoing ICC World T20 2014 so far.


In an interview with The Indian Express, Hirwani mentioned that he has known Mishra for a long time, but he felt Mishra was under-confident and struggling when they last met during the 2013-14 Irani Trophy game. He wrote, “The conversation as always was about his bowling. Amit, though, didn’t sound as confident as he does usually. There was something worrying him.”


Mishra has been in and out of the Indian setup for the last few years, and has clearly not enjoyed the confidence of the India captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni like Ravichandran Ashwin. And as per Hirwani, Mishra has always desired for that trust from Dhoni.


“I would often ask him how come he was being so successful in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and yet struggling to get back to the national team. His explanation was always the same. Amit believes intrinsically that he is the champion of his IPL team. That he holds the key every time he has the ball in his hand. The captain’s confidence, he believed, was half the task.”


Hirwani expressed great delight on Mishra’s new-found success and the fact that he has now won two back-to-back Man of the Match awards. “Most importantly, he has Dhoni on his side again. While he has always possessed all the skills necessary to be a wicket-taking leg-spinner, I think his understanding of batsmen’s psychology has been enhanced drastically of late.”


The former spinner has also lauded Mishra’s thinking of the game and the way he has judged batsmen’s strengths and weaknesses. “It is very important for any spinner to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of every batsman he’s bowling to. He’s like a doctor trying to diagnose a patient’s condition. For example, did you see the pace at which he bowled the deliveries that outwitted both Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo? There was a stark contrast. The one he got Samuels with was tossed up and was very slow in the air. It beat the right-hander in flight. The next one to Bravo was slightly quicker and flatter too. Not to forget that it was a googly.”


He also added that Mishra becomes a difficult customer for most batsmen because of the amount of air he gives to a delivery and the turn he produces. “The general problem with most batsmen around the world these days is that they are no longer used to facing spinners who give a lot of air to the ball. They spend hours in the nets batting against spinners bowling at them at speeds of around 85-87 kmph. Amit bowls much slower and is in the range of 75-77 kmph.”


He further added, “Amit has many variations, be it the conventional leg-break, the googly or the flipper. He’s constantly asking questions of the batsmen. The way he uses the crease is exemplary too, and Amit’s biggest strength is that he’s ready and skilled enough to keep changing tactics on his feet. He doesn’t have to depend on predetermined strategies.


“Like his first plan against someone like Chris Gayle would be to start with a googly always. And one that is given a lot of air. Why? Because Gayle, he knows, will attempt to smash him over the on-side boundary. But that doesn’t mean he will not try other variations against him.”


While Hirwani has expressed joy on Mishra’s success, he felt that Mishra took so much time to reach this position because his captain, Dhoni is a very good player of leg-spin. Thus, it required Mishra to run the extra mile to have Dhoni’s trust.


ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings


ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details