Fit-again Amit Mishra is raring to play for Delhi Capitals in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Having recovered from a hand injury that ruled him out of IPL 2020 after just 3 matches for the Capitals, the 38-year-old leg-spinner is keen on making a mark when the new season gets underway from April 9.
Amit Mishra is second only to Lasith Malinga on the all-time list of bowlers with most wickets in the IPL. Mishra has 160 wickets, 10 less than Malinga who will not feature in the 2021 edition of the T20 tournament. Mishra has been underrated over the years but the senior leg-spinner said he has no time to give attention to what people think about his game.
He last played for India in 2017, and ironically, in his last ODI series he was Man of the Series with 15 wickets against New Zealand in 2016 and after two more white ball games (in T20 format), he was dropped for good.
Was he also a victim of the perception that he was always considered slower through the air?
"I can't stop people from drawing their own conclusions but a proof of my abilities is the fact that I am playing the world's toughest T20 league for the past 13 seasons, which is an achievement in itself," Mishra told the Press Trust of India.
"I am still second in the list of all-time T20 wicket-takers in IPL. Isse zyada kya performance karega insaan? What else can one do?) I am a top performer in an elite league, where competition is fierce. My job is to perform and I have been doing that for ages now, so what people think about me hardly makes a difference.
"No point being negative or bitter as it would hardly serve any purpose. I play because I still love this game. Next year, I will again play domestic cricket if my body permits."
'I share a great bond with Pant'
Mishra represented the Delhi Capitals in the inaugural season of IPL in 2008. He was led by former India opener Virender Sehwag back then. In the upcoming season, he will be led by Rishabh Pant who was a school kid back in 2008.
Nonetheless, Mishra is excited to play under Pant, whom he believes has improved leaps and bounds over the last few months.
Notably, Pant was appointed as the captain of Delhi Capitals last month after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of IPL 2021 with a shoulder injury.
"I had good relation with Virender Sehwag and similarly I share a great bond with Rishabh Pant. I am very happy that he is the captain. He has changed himself in every aspect with regards to his game, fitness and inherent nature and that shows, he has changed his game completely in 4-5 months," Mishra said.
Speaking about the importance of captain's influence in helping leg-spinners deliver, Mishra added: "Any leg-spinner needs a good captain because when the bowler is under attack, you need that sort of a skipper, who would back you to the hilt and give you that requisite confidence even when you have gone for a few runs."