So who is the best bowler in the IPL? Most of us wouldn't blink twice before picking either Lasith Malinga or Sunil Narine. The others have come and gone, had their good matches and good years but Malinga and Narine have been stunning because of their consistency. They have been lauded and commanded a good price at the auctions because of that.
So let me ask you another question: Who is the best Indian bowler in the IPL?
Now, this is a toughie. Is it not? Ravichandran Ashwin plays for Chennai on tracks that support spin. Umesh Yadav has pace. Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh have the mightly Mumbai Indians juggernaut to back them. Zaheer Khan, when fit, can use the pace and the bounce at Bangalore to good effect.
The answer may come as a surprise to many. Amit Mishra, India discard and leg-spinner, has found his calling in the IPL. In 65 matches, he has 83 wickets -- the most by an Indian and second only to Malinga who has 86 wickets in 59 matches -- at an average of 20.09 and an economy rate of 6.99.
Yesterday, he did the star turn for Sunrisers Hyderabad, claiming his third IPL hat-trick, to lead his side to a stunning wicket over Pune Warriors India.
Pune needed 14 runs off the last two overs when Mishra was given the ball. The leg-spinner had PWI skipper Angelo Mathews caught at long-on off the second ball. Then, he trapped Bhuvneshwar Kumar leg-before and bowled Rahul Sharma and Ashok Dinda in succession to get his third IPL hat-trick.
"I did not try for any tricks, I wanted to keep it simple," Mishra said after the match. "I did not think of any other thing, just bowled to get the wickets and I got a hat-trick. Cameron White said to me that I should go for wickets and I did just that. It's a great feeling."
Indeed, there is something about Mishra when he plays the IPL. Discarded from the Indian team for being too slow in the air and not having enough variations, his bowling seems to be perfect for T20 cricket.
Well, actually, most leg-spinners are perfect for the format. While off-spinners have invented the carrom balls and the doosras, the leg-spinners are the original mystery bowlers of cricket -- the top-spinner, the googly, the leg-spinner are all bowled with almost the same action and if the bowler can land it in the right spot, he can be pretty tough to face. So far, Mishra has managed to do all that and more.
Just have a look at his track record:
In 2008: 6 matches, 11 wickets, avg of 12.54 and ER of 6.90
In 2009: 11 matches, 14 wickets, avg of 21.00 and ER of 7.00
In 2010: 14 matches, 17 wickets, avg of 21.35 and ER of 6.84 (second highest wicket-taker)
In 2011: 14 matches, 19 wickets, avg of 18.84 and ER of 6.71 (fifth highest wicket-taker)
In 2012: 14 matches, 13 wickets, avg of 29.00 and ER of 8.02
In 2013 (so far): 6 matches, 9 wickets, avg of 15.33 and ER of 6.00
So basically, he has had one bad season -- in 2012 -- in his IPL career otherwise, he has taken wickets and even managed to maintain a good economy rate. At some level, you have to wonder whether such consistent performances merit a call-up to the Indian T20 team at least.
Updated Date: Apr 18, 2013 16:07:15 IST