Warne’s ball of the century turned Mishra into leg-spinner

October 1st, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) When Shane Warne slipped the “ball of the century” through his fingers, little did the spin wizard realise that he is spawning a generation of leg-spinners across the cricket world. The spectacular delivery pitched in the rough outside the leg-stump turned almost ninety degrees to disturb the timber and one of England’s finest batsman Mike Gatting was rooted bemused. Warne’s fortunes took a similar turn after that 1993 Ashes series and, most importantly, it also motivated several youngsters to take to the dying art of leg-spin. Amit Mishra was among those starry-eyed youngsters who watched that ball and got hooked on to leg-spin.

Mishra, who had to wait eight long years to get his Test call-up against Australia Wednesday, said he owe his career to Warne.

“My brother was a leg-spinner and I started bowling at a young age. But it was only after seeing that delivery from Warne that I made up my mind to become a leg-spinner. I watched it in awe and it was magic for me. Warne is my inspiration. I spoke to him during Indian Premier League (IPL), but not for long. If I get another chance, I would like to discuss my bowling with him,” Mishra told IANS from Chennai where he took three wickets playing for India A against New Zealand Wednesday.

When Mishra started his career in 2001, his attacking line impressed the selectors and he found himself in the national reckoning when he was selected in the squad for the home series against West Indies in October 2002, but did not get an opportunity to play. He got another chance in the TVS Cup in Dhaka in April 2003. But after that it was a long wait as Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were the top spinners.

“I knew I will have to wait patiently for my turn because Kumble and Harbhajan are match-winners. They have proved themselves over the years. So my motto was just to keep performing at whatever level I play. I love the game and enjoy playing.”

Mishra kept sharpening his skills playing for Haryana till he caught the attention once again when he was selected for the A team in 2007 against South Africa A. And then IPL suddenly brought him into the limelight. Playing for Delhi Daredevils. Mishra made a big impact and has a hat-trick against Deccan Chargers.

“IPL brought me into national reckoning. It is not only important to get wickets but the quality of the opposition and the level matters a lot. The IPL was a big competition and my performance against star players was take note of. After that I realised that I can get into the national team.”

He captured an impressive 46 wickets in 11 games in 2007 in domestic competition while gave a good account of himself against Australia A last month.

“I would not say that I was surprised with the call. I was expecting it. I am 25 and I have matured as a bowler. I think I have got this break at the right time. Now If I get a chance to play, I would want to win matches for India.”

For the family of the Rohtak boy, it was a big occasion.

“I come from a middle class family but my parents have never dissuaded me from playing cricket. My brother Ajay was a good player and he got job in Railways. That’s what a middle class family wants and so they never stopped me from playing.”

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