I will cherish my first wicket: Mishra

Amit Mishra, who took five wickets on his debut Test, said his first wicket to remove Australia opener Simon Katich on Saturday was the special one.

updated: October 19, 2008 12:32 IST
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Amit Mishra bamboozled Cameron white with a beauty of a googly today, but the leg-spinner, who took five wickets on his debut Test, said his first wicket to remove Australia opener Simon Katich on Saturday was the special one.

"I worked a lot on my googly and on my variations. They came out well and I am happy to have helped the cause of the team. Naturally, the first wicket was special and I will cherish it," Mishra said after picking up five for 71.

The 25-year-old Haryana lad, who made it to the playing XI in place of Anil Kumble - recovering from a shoulder injury - gave credit to his seniors in the team for taking off the pressure of playing in his debut Test.

"I have earlier made it to the team and at that time I got advice from the seniors. This time also, the seniors gave me lot of advice on how to go about the Test. Naturally, their advice took away the pressure of playing my first Test," he said.

Mishra said variations in bowling was important on the slow tracks like the one at the PCA Stadium which was not taking much spin.

"The wicket was slow. It was taking spin but not much. So I had to vary the deliveries and it worked," he said.

"I think the pitch will take more spin tomorrow and day after and we will be in a good position to win the match," he added.

A dream Test debut ended his five year wilderness and Haryana leg-spinner has not doubt whatsoever that it was his performance in the India Premier League (IPL) that revived his career.

Amit was unceremoniously jettisoned from the ODI squad in 2003 after which he toiled silently in the domestic cricket for the next five years.

Amit proved his worth for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, which included a hat-trick against the Deccan Chargers, and was in fact a surprise inclusion in the squad for the ongoing series against Australia.

Lady luck smiled on the chubby leggie and Amit was drafted into the playing XI at the eleventh hour only after regular skipper Anil Kumble was ruled out due to an injured shoulder. And the youngster responded by taking five Australian wickets.

Looking back, Amit is convinced it was IPL which put his career back on track.

"Those five years, it was difficult indeed and I did feel sad as well. But I worked hard in domestic cricket, interacted with many people and learnt a lot. Wherever I played, I gained in experience. Then came IPL. It was very, very competitive and I think the selectors took note of my performance there," said the soft-spoken leg-spinner.

Amit took the opportunity to thank Kumble and former leggie-turned-selector Narendra Hirwani for their encouraging words.

"Anil bhai was very helpful. He told me to bowl just the way I do. He said 'you are doing well and do show some variations.' He was the first person to call me when I was selected and wished me. Now coming from someone who has taken 650 wickets, it's a huge boost. He gave me a couple of tips and those were of great help.

"Hirubhai also encouraged me a lot. When he talks to me, he talks as a former leg-spinner and not as a selector. We chat whenever we meet," he said.

"Besides, (stand-in skipper MS) Dhoni also boosted my confidence and told me to go and bowl without any worry," Amit added.

Told that he has made it difficult to accommodate Kumble once he recovers from his shoulder injury, Amit said, "Well, selection is not my headache. I just wanted to go out and perform and that's what I did."

Ricky Ponting and his men would be rather surprised to know that though Amit respects Kumble a lot, he derives inspiration from an Australian and looks forward to pick some more tips from him.

"I idolise Shane Warne. I got to interact with him during the IPL and I'm looking forward to meeting him again and learning a few things from him," Amit said.