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IPL 2020

IPL 2020: 'Other' spinner Mishra eyes Malinga's mark

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on September 16, 2020
Delhi Capitals leg spinner Amit Mishra during a fielding session in Dubai. - Delhi Capitals

The veteran is second highest wicket taker in IPL history with 157 scalps, 13 behind the Lankan

Life isn't easy being the 'other' spinner. Australia's Stuart MacGill will attest to that. The leg spinner constantly lived in the shadows of the wizard Shane Warne.

Closer home, in India, leg spinner Anil Kumble and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh were at the top of their game and that meant Amit Mishra was always on the periphery.

And while he may have had modest returns from an even more modest international career, the unassuming Mishra has carved a niche for himself in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Mishra, now 37 and maturing as each year passes by, is the second highest wicket taker in IPL history and is within striking distance of Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga.

With the frizzy-haired Malinga unavailable this season due to personal reasons, leg spinner Mishra could surpass the Lankan pacer. Malinga sits on top of the perch with 170 wickets from 122 matches, while Mishra has 157 scalps from 147 games, with one fifer and three four-wicket hauls.

As Mishra, one of the elder statesmen of the Delhi Capitals, eyes that landmark and aims to help his franchise towards the title that has so far proved elusive, he will be facing a different challenge.

The wickets here are a bit of an unknown and he said that it would be easier to gauge whether it will favour the bat or ball once the tournament gets going.

The Delhi Capitals, semifinalists in 2008 and 2009, apart from making the play-offs in 2012 and last year, go up against Kings XI Punjab in their opening match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

"The conditions so far have been neutral," said Mishra.

"When we start playing, then we will have a clearer picture and can say whether it is helping the batsmen or the bowlers more," he added.

Looking ahead to the season, Mishra who played 22 Tests, 36 ODIs and 10 T20Is, said that they have prepared well and there is a positive vibe among the group.

"The best thing is that all the players are enjoying each other's company. Everyone has been putting in great effort in preparing for the tournament under such difficult circumstances," he said.

And while the veteran spinner said they would go all out in their effort, he also struck a cautious note, saying that it would be a folly to underestimate any team.

"We are really positive, but in T20 cricket, you know it is hard to promise a win, because all teams are so competitive and have quality players in their ranks. We also have a lot of match-winners in our team, and we will do our preparations according to each team. We cannot underestimate any team, and need to treat everyone equally," he said.

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