Amit Mishra, Indian spin wizard and IPL sensation, talks to The Daily Guardian about life during lockdown. Excerpts:
Q: Tell us what have you been doing during this lockdown?
A: For the last 20 years I have been working and travelling. So, for the first two weeks of the lockdown I did not know what to do, but slowly realised how this has given me more time with my family, with whom I hardly spend any time because of my hectic work schedule. I am feeling really good. A lot of positivity has come out of my time spent with my family.
Q: When you were playing cricket, home sickness was a big contention for all cricketers. Living out of a suitcase became a part and parcel of your life. Are you missing cricket now?
A: I am still playing and any sportsman misses their family when they play. But right now, it has been more than six months so I am sure every sportsman is missing playing their sport. There is a requirement to follow the rules as well. Staying at home is paramount to kill the virus. I urge everyone to stay at home.
Q: You still have a lot of cricket left in you. Have you been feeling desperation sitting at home to get back to the nets and practise?
A: It is very true, for every cricketer it is important to play at the nets and with one’s opponents. The more matches you play, the better you get. Hopefully, we get to play soon when all of this is over. No doubt, I am missing cricket. But we must keep our families safe and stay at home. Slowly we shall go back to our normal lives and I hope it happens soon. You will see us playing cricket soon.
Q: What are you doing to stay fit during this lockdown?
A: The most important part to stay fit and maintain a good body is to fix one’s food habits. Staying in this lockdown has made me realise how important it is to maintain a healthy diet. Fifty per cent of what you eat is the input that comes out. I have stopped carbs and sweets, which has helped me a lot. My body is feeling very light, and if one concentrates on eating healthy, they get better results too.
Q: You are the first cricketer in IPL history with three hat-tricks. Do you see your videos on YouTube?
A: I do watch myself on the Internet; who doesn’t? I generally watch myself before playing a match or have an interesting session of cricket. I like to see what I did right and what I did wrong. I try and reinforce the right aspects I pick up from my videos. There are so many cricketers today like Shane Warne whose videos I watch and try and learn from their style, which suits my style as well. I then practise at the nets as much as I can.
Q: The Australian cricket board has said when the Covid-19 scare dies down, Test cricket should be resumed. They have also said that when a situation such as this occurs, it’s cricket and the fans watching cricket who get out of routine and look forward to watching it as much as they can.
A: I support this statement wholeheartedly that cricket has got people together. It has united people—not now, but for a very long time. It’s a game loved by many. Right now, the problem is the virus, which is spreading rapidly. Covid does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, and can be caught by anyone. We should know enough about the virus and how to keep away and safe from it as well. The symptoms of Covid are very hard to track as well. Not that I am saying cricket should not happen, all I am saying is health is paramount and we should tackle that first. If one gets it, one can give it to 50 people, which is very scary.
Q: I have asked you enough about cricket, let us now shift our focus towards Covid. Do you think compared to the other countries in the world India has done a good job of handling the crisis and controlling the spread of Covid-19?
A: I am very proud of India. The lockdown started at the right moment and was strict. It was a very well thought of step, which worked. Because of the lockdown we have been able to contain the virus and are doing very well. Our population is huge and controlling a virus like this is hard but we managed. I would like to compliment Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doing such a good job and more than anything else I would like to thank and commend every Indian in this fight together. We will overcome this soon and things will go back to normal.
Q: On a lighter note, during the lockdown what is the new skill that you picked up?
A: I have learnt how to make tea during this lockdown, I love tea and need it in the morning. I wake up and make my own tea now. I dust the house also. I never liked reading books or even newspaper. Now I have started and I am enjoying it and give it half an hour.
Q: To keep the tradition and culture of Test cricket alive, many experiments are being done. You are playing under the light, you are playing with a pink ball. Is this necessary according to you to keep the game’s purest form alive?
A: You are right, Test cricket for me is the biggest priority as one gets tested as a cricketer. Sometimes what happens is that we try and change things at times to give it a new twist to entertain people. At the end of the day, it’s about the viewers and they too need to see changes to keep the game interesting for them. Some changes are important and what has been done until now is fine, but no more.