It took nearly four years for Amit Mishra to play a Twenty20 International since his debut in 2010. For any bowler, it is frustrating not to be considered for India duty despite doing well in the shortest format at the domestic level and Indian Premier League.
But Mishra waited for his chance and when it arrived, has made sure that he remains part of the Playing XI right through the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 2014.
In two games so far in World T20, Mishra has weaved his magic against the oppostion. In three days' time, he has won lot of fans with his spin and flight.
Against Pakistan last Friday (March 21), the 31-year-old bamboozled the batsmen. His best ball was the one which turned away from opener Ahmed Shehzad and had him stumped by captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.
Mishra's 2/22 in 4 overs (including a wicket-maiden) tied down Pakistan to 130/7. And chasing this target, India romped home by 7 wickets.
At the same venue, Mishra returned yesterday (March 23) to once again show his class as a legspinner, this time in front of the defending champions West Indies. He continued from where he had left off against Pakistan.
The script was similar to Pakistan's clash. West Indies batsmen were choked by Indian spin and were restricted to 129/7. India won by same margin of seven wickets in the run-chase.
In the space of two matches, Mishra has gone from a water-boy to being a certainty in the Playing XI. For several tours and tournaments, Mishra was a constant on the bench, often confined to carry drinks.
But after his performances against Pakistan and West Indies, Dhoni and the team management will have to include Mishra in their scheme of things if they need to win the World T20 title for the second time.
Mishra's T20I debut was against Zimbabwe on June 13, 2010. And his next game was the one versus Pakistan last Friday.
Ignored for such a long time, Mishra has not allowed it to bother him as he said he is a "positive thinker". "I am a positive thinker, I do not worry about the negatives," Mishra said.
Also, the bowler thanked Dhoni for having confidence in him. "Dhoni always tells me that I should try to spin the ball as that is my strength. He tells me that I have the ability to beat the batsman in flight. That's how I got Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik out today. In T20 cricket, more variations you have, the more advantageous position you are in," he said after Pakistan game.
His captain Dhoni was full for praise. "I am really happy for him. I could feel he was a little nervous against Pakistan, so I just told him to spin and flight the ball and use the variations he had.
"I was very comfortable the way he bowled after that. It is good to see the bowlers doing so well, but there is still a long way to go in this tournament."
Being the star performer in both matches, Mishra won the Man-of-the-match awards. Already looking favourites for the trophy, India are spinning it the right way. And Mishra is the man of the moment.
Next up for Mishra is Bangladesh, on Friday (March 28).