Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary will look to impress the national selectors again — in the Irani Cup game beginning tomorrow against Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai — at the Wankhede Stadium.
Injury probably caused Tiwary a place in India’s one-day team in the recently concluded series against England. Tiwary was sidelined for a month after suffering from a side strain while batting during a Ranji game for Bengal against Saurashtra in Rajkot in December.
He has not played a game after a fairly impressive sequence of scores in his last three ODIs… 104 not out, 21 and 65. Surely, he would have been in the selectors’ plans given a scenario where they had to include Test man Cheteshwar Pujara in the one-day squad.
MiD DAY spoke to Tiwary recently on his up and down career. Excerpts:
It’s been frustrating, but I have to balance it all. I have come up the hard way, so mentally I have become very strong. Being in the reserves of the Indian side has also helped. You hope to play when you leave (for a match) with the Indian team in the morning. And when you get to know you are not in the playing XI, it hurts. But you have to learn to hide your emotions. I have dealt with it quite often (laughs). I am an emotional person.
It was in 2007 that I became the best domestic batsman in India. It was only my second year of first-class cricket. I got selected for the Bangladesh tour and I was sure to make my debut. But unfortunately I got injured (shoulder) during practice. I cried like a child that night. I just couldn’t control my emotions that day. My dreams were crushed.
Ganguly, the guide
Dada was my childhood idol. He was the biggest name in West Bengal when I was growing up. He has always been a guiding force.
How Tendulkar helped me…
Not many people know this, but Sachin paaji organised for my surgery in England. En route to Bangladesh for a Test series (in 2007), Sachin paaji was in Kolkata. He called me and asked about my injury (shoulder) status and immediately arranged for a specialist doctor in England because only that would have helped me recover. Sachin paaji resurrected my career.
The hard way
I came up the hard way. It wasn’t easy to come this far. There have been many challenges along the way right from my under-16 days. Despite being a batsman, I was given more bowling opportunities. I played for Bengal as a bowler (leg break) and took the highest number of wickets that season.
I said to myself that if I have to succeed, I have to deal with these situations. I never looked back after representing Bengal under-16. Under my coach Manobindo Ghosh’s guidance, I have come this far.
Middle-class families are always in two minds - whether to allow their child to concentrate too much on sport - or push them into academics.
In that respect, my family has backed me immensely. It is immensely satisfying to realise that I represented my country in this sport and scored a hundred.
I would have joined the Indian army if I hadn’t become a cricketer. I am very passionate about my country.
Finance was always a big issue (hurdle) while growing up as a cricketer. Equipment isn’t easily affordable for a middle-class family. When I was starting out, my parents had to borrow money to buy my kit costing Rs 5000. Once, while returning from an under-16 tour, I was looted by two guys, who took all my cricketing equipment. I cried because my family bought that kit with great difficulty. But my family backed me and bought me a new kit. My coach helped too.
I gave my first earnings to my mother. I still do, except now I have to keep a little for myself. During my junior cricket days, I would skip meals at night to save some of the daily allowance to take home some money. I would only drink tea and eat biscuits. I would fill my stomach with lunch and snacks provided during the match. I did that for a long time.
I gave my first earnings to my mother. I still do, except now I have to keep a little for myself. During my junior cricket days, I would skip meals at night to save some of the daily allowance to take home some money. I did that for a long time.