Amit Mishra, who was selected for the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka Test series after a gap of four years, knew if he did not perform in the island nation, his career was over. Mishra played an important role with the ball as well as the bat in the three Test matches, to help India win a series in Sri Lanka after a period of 22 years.
The leggie, who finished the series with 15 wickets, was confident that he would do well in Sri Lanka.
"At this stage of my career, it was a sort of do-or-die series for me. If I wouldn't have performed, it would have been curtains for me. However, I had the confidence that I would deliver if given an opportunity. I wasn't overconfident but as I had worked very hard, I knew I would do well," Mishra told The Times of India in an interview.
With such performance under his belt in Sri Lanka, Mishra is almost certain to be India's second spinner during the Test series against South Africa in November-December, with Ravichandaran Ashwin the premier spinner.
Mishra, relishing a chance to cement his place in the team, headed over to Sri Lanka fully-prepared, as he received some useful tips from some quality Indian spinners such as Anil Kumble, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Narendra Hirwani. What also helped him was the experience he had gained after having previously played in Sri Lanka as well.
"I had toured Sri Lanka five years ago and played a Test. So I had some idea about the conditions. I had spoken to Hiru Bhai [Hirwani], LS [Sivaramakrishnan], Anil Bhai on how I can be effective," said Mishra.
Though Mishra was primarily picked for his bowling credentials, the right-hander chipped in with the bat as well, especially in the third and final Test match at the SSC in Colombo, where he scored 59 and 39 runs in the first and second innings respectively. In fact it was his 104-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings, which helped India compile a total of 312 runs.
"I have always taken my batting very seriously. If you contribute something with the bat, it always helps the team. If you see, my partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara helped us post a respectable first innings total in the third Test. In the second innings too, everyone in the lower order chipped in," said the leggie.
However, after his impressive all-round performance in the island nation, Mishra will be expected to to perform consistently in the upcoming Test series against South Africa, who are one of the strongest sides in world cricket, comprising of batsmen such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis.