Kolkata: Amit Mishra, the veteran leg spinner who turned out to be the matchwinner for Delhi Capitals on Tuesday, has a bigger milestone waiting for him during the ongoing season of IPL. The former international, now the second highest wicket-taker in the history of the league with 164 wickets, is barely six wickets adrift of the retired Sri Lankan pace ace Lasith Malinga - a target which is very much within his reach on the slow Indian decks.
Looking back at his haul of four of 24, which put the brakes on the Mumbai Indians, the 38-year-old said he was particularly thrilled about dismissing Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard.
“The wickets of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard were special for me because they have been gamechangers for MI for many years. I always go for wickets in every match that I play. I had a clear-cut plan about where I should bowl and how I could dismiss each of the big players in the Mumbai Indians side through my variations. I am very happy that I could execute my plans. I am even more happy about the Delhi Capitals winning the match,” he said.
The Delhi franchise, who played their first three games in Mumbai, had just a day’s gap between their match against Punjab Kings and the crucial one against Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Tuesday night. Shrugging off the challenge of travel and change of venue under such trying circumstances, Mishra said: “It was a challenge to be ready for a game in a different venue in a short period of time, but as professional cricketers we know how to motivate ourselves and recover for the next match. The physio’s work is very important in these situations. And once we step on the field, we focus on our performance and we don’t think about anything else.”
When asked if Delhi Capitals’ recent poor record against Mumbai Indians was playing on the players’ minds before the match on Tuesday, Mishra said, “In T20s, we have to forget the past and take a fresh start in every match that we play in, because anyone can change the match on any given day. I don’t think any of the players were thinking about our recent record against MI. Like our Head Coach Ricky Ponting has told us, we take every day as a new day and we play positively in every match.”
Key to recent success
Mishra, popular as ‘Mishi bhai’ among the Indian players in the team and who has played over 100 matches for the franchise, highlighted a few factors that have been crucial for the team’s success in the last three years, “We are the DC family and everyone in the camp has been enjoying each other’s success in the last three-four years. We don’t talk about negative things and try to focus on only the positive things. All of us support each other regardless of the performances on the field. I think these are the main reasons for our success in the last three-four years.”
Rebranded as Delhi Capitals since 2019, they finished third and runners-up in the last two seasons, respectively. This year, it’s been a job well begun as they have won three of their four matches so far.