There is life in the old dog yet! Former India spinner Amit Mishra says he has no intention of hanging up his bowling boots in the near future and will keep playing in domestic tournaments as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"To be honest, I don't know how long I can play. But I will try to play as long as I can. I have started my preparations, I'm taking care of my fitness, watching my diet, trying to get back in shape. To stay fit, a cricketer has to be in the ground, that's the only way he can stay fit. There is no other way. And I'm exactly trying that, looking for any opportunity to play or train," Mishra, who recently turned 39, told sify.com in an exclusive interview.
Mishra, who played his first international game way back in 2003, has represented India in all three formats -- 22 Tests, 36 ODIs and 10 T20Is to be precise. He was also an integral part of the team that played in the 2014 World T20 final in Bangladesh. However, many believe, considering his prodigious talent with the ball, that he could have played a lot more for the national team and done so much better than just 156 international wickets.
Be that as it may, Mishra has no regrets whatsoever as to what could have been with more opportunities. "I'm a positive person. Whenever I have played for the Indian team, for my state team or in the IPL, I have always tried to improve, bowl better than before. And things that I can't control, I don't bother over. Yes, initially I used to get upset that despite performing I wasn't getting many opportunities but over time as you mature you start thinking more about your bowling, your performances. There was a time when it [thinking about lack of opportunities] started affecting my bowling and then I decided I should not waste my time on things I can't control," he said.
"Yes, I agree I could have played a lot more for India, but I have no regrets. I gave my best whenever I got the opportunity. That brings me great satisfaction.
"I'm still happy [despite less representation at the international level]. I'm still playing in a league which is popular worldwide, a format which is the toughest. And I have been doing well for the last 14 years," he added.
If truth be told, Mishra has been one of the top bowlers in the IPL where he played for the Delhi franchise for the longest – nine seasons in all. In the history of the league, he is the third most successful bowler with 166 wickets to his name, one behind Dwayne Bravo and four behind Lasith Malinga. His big-hearted bowling has made him one of the fan favourites at the franchise.
Despite being an aggressive bowler, Mishra boasts a very impressive economy rate of 7.35 across 154 matches. With the grand auction round the corner, Mishra hopes that Delhi Capitals pick him up again. His reasons are both practical and heart-melting at once.
"I will be honest, I won't lie. I have played many seasons for Delhi. Attachment is definitely there. Fans also have attachment towards me. Whenever I take the field for the team, fans call out to me affectionately from the stands. You are also attached to the ground and to your teammates. You know everything about your team, they know everything about you. So, it will be great if they pick me up again but if not, as a professional cricketer, whichever franchise picks me up, I will give my more than hundred percent for them, like I have always done in my career," he said.