S. SOORAJ | 21st April 2021

Being an Indian leg-spinner is never easy. The trend is simple- they start out strong, eventually get replaced by the thousands of leg-spinners waiting in line in better form and repeat. Only a few of them have managed to be a household name for a longer period, and when the talk about that list of players arises, you can never forget Amit Mishra. He is from the Anil Kumble era and he played and grafted for so many years. And at 38 years old, he’s still playing in the IPL.

During the late 2000s and early 2010s, Mishra was an excellent bowler and a regular fixture in the Indian team. However, just like the life of any other spin bowler, he got replaced by the likes of others in line- Ashwin and Jadeja in this case and in a few years, he was restricted to only first-class cricket and IPL. In the IPL, he has continuously shown prominence over the years.

With 164 wickets, Amit Mishra is only 6 wickets behind Lasith Malinga’s all-time record in the competition. A little piece of trivia for you- Mishra is the only bowler in IPL history to take 3 hattricks.

The 38-year old however, had a torrid time in Dubai last year as he went through an torrid time due to his finger injury in the previous edition of the IPL, due to which he was ruled out of the whole season. But now, Amit Mishra has found his way back into the playing XI again with a quality performance against the defending champions.

The leggie scalped four yesterday, including the important wickets of skipper Rohit Sharma, the lethal duo of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard and the mercurial Ishan Kishan. In what was a repeat of the last year IPL’s final, the only change, the Delhi Capitals that emerged victorious due to Mishra’s heroics.

Delhi Capitals, are still competing at the top of the table, even in the absence of their captain Shreyas Iyer. Rishabh Pant has filled in the role of the captain for the franchise from the national capital and has seen his side through thrice in four games. With the clever changes like bringing in Amit Mishra due to the spin-friendly pitch, Delhi Capitals could well and truly be a force to be reckoned with this season.

The Mumbai batsmen were struggling to read Amit Mishra’s deliveries and even the well-set Rohit Sharma seemed to misread the veteran in his first over and gifted an easy catch at long-on to Steve Smith. This instance marked the 7th time that Mishra has dismissed Sharma. Not a bad record to have against one of the best players in the world.

Amit Mishra just didn’t stop at that as he dug deep into the Mumbai Indians batting lineup, picking up three more wickets.

Amit Mishra was in the thick of everything last night

Amit Mishra’s antics ensured that MI were restricted to a below-par total of 137. His experience paid off as he was spinning the ball much more efficiently and his spell also included a considerable amount of googlies. Mishra has always been a great bowler of the googly and yesterday, he did that with utmost perfection to make sure the Mumbai top-order fall like a pack of cards.

Even with their impeccable bowling line-up, 130 was too little of a score to defend for the Mumbai Indians, as Delhi saw through the game in the 20th over.

With this impressive performance, Amit Mishra is more likely to feature more in the upcoming games for Delhi too. Delhi Capitals, after a strong start in the Wankhede where they won two of their first three games have arrived in Chennai with a bang. Delhi’s decision to play the leg spinner in the spin-friendly Chennai pitches paid off as it puts them back in 2nd place.

Not just a vet but a seasoned one.