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Shirin Sadikot in Mohali

Won’t sacrifice flight & spin in T20s: Mishra

SRH leggie opens up about his bowling technique in shortest format

Amit Mishra’s figures of 4-1-13-1 against Faisalabad Wolves were the best display of spin bowling in the CLT20 2013 Qualifiers. More importantly, they were a major reason why Sunrisers Hyderabad made it to the Group Stage of the tournament with one match to spare.

In a chat with clt20.com after his team won by seven wickets, Mishra explained what this qualification meant to the Sunrisers franchise and what has been the secret of their bonhomie.

The leg-spinner also dwelt deep into his bowling – the mental and technical aspects of it – and opened up about the work he has put into it during the past year and a half.

The spinners have struggled to make an impact in the first four Qualifier matches on the Mohali track. What did you do differently for your 1 for 13?

To be honest, I have always had a bit of a problem bowling on such wickets and I have worked on certain things in my bowling to change that. I went home and played a lot of matches on this kind of wickets. I particularly worked on my pace – I was told that my pace was too slow for such wickets and hence I decided to add more power in it. For that I worked in the gym, got fitter and did many other drills. I guess I have started to reap the rewards now.

You bowled only one over against Kandurata Maroons apparently because there were too many lefties in the opposition. But did you try and convince Shikhar to give you another over given you are the team’s specialist spinner?

I have always believed that since a leg-spinner has more variations, it is tougher for a left-hander to play him. I was waiting for a call to bowl another over, the team and the coaches were also thinking, ‘when is Amit going to bowl’. But sometimes, you don’t know what is going on in the captain’s mind and it’s best to leave some decisions to him, without thinking about it too much. Also, it was Shikhar’s first game as captain and these things happen

Was it on your mind when you were bowling against FW that you have to make up for the lack of opportunity in the last game?

Yes, it was. If any such thing like, ‘he can’t bowl to the left-handers’, comes to anyone’s mind, it becomes a challenge for me. So, when I bowled against FW I certainly had it at the back of my mind that I want to prove that I can bowl equally well to every kind of batsman.

Spinners often change their bowling in T20s – they bowl faster and flatter. You are among the very few spinners who maintain the classical attributes like flight, loop and spin in the T20 format.

I have been playing this format since the last six years. In the beginning I tied to bowl quicker and flatter in a couple of matches but I wasn’t effective because that wasn’t my bowling style. I sat and thought about it and realized that I am not the kind of bowler whose strength is containing runs. Many other people too told me that I become a dangerous bowler when I go for wickets. So, I started to work out on how I can be effective in this format without losing the attacking attributes of my bowling. There are times when the situation demands that I bowl to stop runs. But even then, I ensure that it doesn’t affect my flight or spin. I have added variations in my arsenal so that before hitting me, the batsman thinks whether it is a googly, top-spin, flipper or slider. So, even when I am bowling to stop runs, I don’t want to do it with defensive bowling.

Talking about the team’s qualification, you guys seemed devastated after losing in the IPL 2013 Playoffs. This win must seem very sweet after that?

Yes, we played so well in the IPL and at least made it to the CLT20 Qualifiers. Now that we have entered the Group Stage with a game to spare, all of us are really happy and it’s apparent on everyone’s faces too. The biggest plus that I see in our performance in this tournament so far is our batting. In the IPL our batting couldn’t click too often but now Shikhar (Dhawan) is in such good form, Parthiv (Patel) is in good nick and the following batsmen are also scoring runs. Our bowling and fielding have always been good, so having these runs on board is a huge boost for us.

Newly formed IPL teams often struggle in their first season as the players take time to gel. SRH is an exception. What do you attribute this team bonding to?

I think the biggest role here was of SRH franchise owners. They created a very good atmosphere the very first day the team came together. They introduced the new players to us and ensured that we get to know each other. We started making friends with each other and made an effort to understand each other. We have our meals together and we support each other to achieve the common objective that is SRH’s success. That helps us out in the field; even if a player doesn’t perform well, we back him 100 per cent and give him the confidence to regain his form.

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