Behind the scenes, Mishra plays his part
Sumit Narwal excitedly threw the ball up in the air after pocketing a straightforward catch of Orissa last batsman Alok Mangaraj at cow corner. The bowler, left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, didn't quite share this enthusiasm. Having picked up only the third wicket of his second game - that too of a tailender - the youngster barely betrayed any emotion: no celebration, no relief, nothing. Cricketers too can be culprits of not looking the game beyond the obvious numbers.
Mishra's figures of 24.3-13-34-1, for example, had more it that just the 'one' entry in the last column that attracts all attention. He had sent down, most crucially, 13 maidens to tie the Orissa batsmen on a slow Kotla track that hardly offered any spin, never really allowing them to settle any kind of rhythm.
His was a role to contain the batsmen and not allowing any strike rotation, and he played it to perfection. Mishra's body language might have suggested he was too hard on himself but the effort didn't escape chief coach Vijay Dahiya's notice."
"I think he has bowled pretty well on this track. He was expected to contain runs and he did that. Vikas Mishra is our No.1 option," Dahiya said, perhaps reassuring the youngster of his place in the side.
The first two matches might not have yielded too many wickets, but they have been a learning curve. "In the first innings against Orissa, there was no turn and the wicket was dry. The ball was coming on the bat easily. I bowled just five overs while Manan (Sharma) got four wickets," says Mishra"
"But in the second, I was prepared. I deliberately mixed up my bowling in the second where I ended up bowling 25 overs. I made use of the crease, moving wide, bowled armers, flighted the odd ball and hit the good length consistently as the main aim was to contain runs. Of course the disappointment of not taking more wickets is there. But I guess I can take heart from the fact that I consistently bowled at one line and length," says the 19-year-old who has 60 First Class wickets under his belt.
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